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For some prospects, it's a letter. For some, it's a phone call and, in today's world, it's often an email. But for Kyshoen Jarrett of East Stroudsburg, Penn., an Allentown suburb, the collegiate offer to play Division I football came in person.
"[Stanford linebacker coach Vic Fangio] took a trip over here to stop by my school, and they had an offer already on my plate for me," Jarrett said. "They like the way I play. My academics are good; I keep up grades and do what I have to do. So they visited, saw how big I was, and we talked, and that settled it for them. Now, I'll take next step and I'll definitely consider Stanford as one of my top choices."
The Stanford coach staff should know East Stroudsburg South High well – Stanford linebacker and one-time prospect Sam and Max Bergen, respectively, come from the school. (Perhaps the staff noticed Jarrett on an earlier visit for the Bergen brothers?) One man who could clear that up is Jim Harbaugh, with whom Jarrett also spoke.
"We got a chance to talk," Jarrett said. "He just wanted to introduce himself, and told me about his program, how they go about recruiting players, the academics, and how the program is on the rise as a football school. And they definitely did well last year."
"I'm trying to keep in contact with Penn State, Rutgers and Miami, mainly Rutgers and Penn State," he said. "Miami, it is hard trying to keep contact with them, but as I start narrowing down my list, hopefully I'll get an offer from them. And I'm talking to schools like Notre Dame and Oregon, so things can come about and help me make decisions. Offers I don't have, I can hope for, but if not, I'm still happy with the ones I have."
Jarrett is loathe to name a leader, though he does have understandable comfort with the school that offered him first, and does admit some schools talk to him more.
"Pretty much everyone is equal with contact," he said. "I get email on my phone, and I get a good number from Pitt, my first offer. So it's not a better relationship, but I talk to them more, they kind of understand me more. I've also been talking to Michigan and Michigan State more recently, as well as Syracuse and UConn. [Ed: All those schools have offered.] Everyone is keeping close contact."
To get more information on these schools, Jarrett is taking the next logical step and visiting their campuses. He told The Bootleg he hopes to visit every offering school, and to that end, has already visited Cincinnati and Rutgers. He plans to decide this weekend where else he might wish to visit soon.
"I know I can't make officials until senior year," Jarrett said, "but I'll try to take a trip to Michigan and Michigan State. I'll try to go to everybody as an unofficial. … Hopefully I can [go to Stanford], but if I can't unofficially, then I hope I have a chance to make an official visit when the season comes. It'll be just as important either way."
On the gridiron, Jarrett religiously wears No. 34 out of superstition – "Our team went undefeated two years in a row and I've loved the number ever since." He considers himself a versatile cornerback, able to thrive regardless of scheme.
"Watching my highlight tape, you can tell I like having fun," he said. "I believe I play well and I love to tackle. Contact is one of the reasons I play football! I have good feet and hips, and can read plays. I believe coaches who really study realize that.
"Scheme doesn't matter, as long as I can become a better player with it. We pretty much do everything at school now – cover 3, cover 2, and usually I'm the one manned up if there's a big receiver on the other team. So I do love man-press, and I hope my college system has a lot of that, but I realize that now I'm one of the best corners on my team and follow the best wide receiver, but I am going to get to a level where everyone's not a big fish in a little pond. We'll all be the same size now and I'll have to build up my ranks when I get there."
Speaking of improvement, Jarrett also knows where he is most focusing his energies.
"I want to play better off-man," he said. "I can play well, but reading a three-step drop, realizing he's going to a five-step drop, reading the deep ball, the comeback, getting better at always knowing where ball is at all times [is what I'm working on]."
Which school will benefit from Jarrett's offseason work is still very much an open-ended question. It may stand that way for awhile, as Jarrett offers no immediate timeline when it comes to finding the perfect fit.
"I'm trying to get that gut feeling, and I hope toward end of my senior season to have a top-five ready," he said. A top-five from 13 may not sound like a big deal, but it is when all those schools are coming after you.
"Some kids have 30 offers, and that's all fine and dandy, but only one school is going to get you, so you've got to see. For me, I know it's the right education. It's the facilities. They're nice everywhere, but nice facilities that feel like home. It's honesty and respect with the coaching staff and the players. It's knowing that I'm not going to get puppied, and can stand on my own two feet and move from being a young man to being a man for the rest of my life.
As independence is a high priority for Jarrett, Stanford's distance from East Stroudsburg may prove a positive.
"I want to be somewhere new, definitely," he said. "I can go as far as I want. The only close school is Rutgers and that's one-and-a-half hours away from my family, and they could come and see games. I'm just trying to leave the nest and stand on my own two feet."
Jarrett reports a GPA in the 3.4-3.5 range.
"I don't get lower than a B. I'm trying to get my grades up, and keep working on the SAT and ACT."
Jarrett is waiting upon his SAT scores. Stanford also has helped convince Jarrett to take more honors courses his senior year.
They want me to take a couple more honors classes, and if not for them, I'll do it for myself," he said. "It looks good on a resume, and so far I've only taken one – I'm a busy man. So next year, I'll try to take some honors and AP classes. It's fine with me, I just want to talk my guidance counselor and make sure it's all fine and dandy."
In high school football, Jarrett's Cavaliers went 11-2 in 4A ball last year, losing in the playoffs' second round. In pro football, Jarrett reports rooting for the Giants. But it is in college football where Jarrett reports being the biggest fan, since his freshman year of high school, in fact.
Our story thus comes full circle, as college football fans may now be just a few years from cheering on Kyshoen Jarrett themselves. Stay tuned to The Bootleg as we keep tabs on this recruitment.
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