Most Division 1 prospects take their time in the recruiting process, fielding as many offers as they can and mulling over their options for months. Hays class of 2016 QB Braeden Kent barely needed 24 hours before accepting his offer from the Texas State Bobcats, his first D1 offer.
Then again, most D1 prospects aren’t as close, physically and metaphorically, to their offers as Kent is to TXST.
“My dad graduated from there,” said Kent. “ My mom didn’t go there but she lived in San Marcos and that’s actually how they met. My oldest sister, she graduated from there and I currently have another sister going there now. And I have a cousin currently going there. All my family has gone there and I live like 15 minutes from there (in Buda) so most of my friends from high school, whenever they graduate, they all go there.”
Everything seemed to be going as planned for Kent and the Hays Rebels until they met Lake Travis three games into the season.
Down 21-0 in the first quarter, Kent finally got things going for the Rebels as he connected with Hays receiver, Brandon Hunter, for a 69-yard touchdown. A celebratory moment met with instant anguish as Kent’s knee was hit after he threw the ball, tearing his ACL. It would mark the last play for Kent in Hays Rebel uniform.
Fearing the worst for his future on the gridiron, Kent was comforted by the support he received from the Bobcats.
“Whenever I hurt my knee, Coach Fran reached out and was letting me know that everything is going to be fine,” said Kent. “It was a big relief knowing that they were still there for me. That was my main concern when it happened. I know most schools would probably just be like ‘Sorry, we’re going with the next guy.’ I’m just very grateful for that.”
Knowing that his status hasn’t changed with the Bobcats has allowed Kent to focus on his rehabilitation without the concern of an unknown future. After a successful surgery last month, he may even be back by the fall, “Right now, I’m just doing mobility stuff, nothing too strenuous. They said it would be about 7-8 months. Should be right in time for whenever I check in.”
It’s been tough on Kent not being out there on the field for his teammates but he said he has learned a few things standing from a different perspective on the sideline.
“I’ve noticed how down everyone can get when something goes wrong in the game,” said Kent. “It shows me how important it is for someone to step up and kind of rally everyone together. Offensively, that was kind of my job, to rally the guys because I was the leader on offense. I’m still trying to be vocal out there. It’s my senior year. I don’t want to just get hurt and the season be over. I just want to keep morally supporting these guys. I’m not going to just fall off the face of the Earth. I’m still a Hays Rebel and I’m just going to keep fighting for these guys.”
With one quarterback, Devin Williams, already decommitting from the Bobcats this fall, Kent is the only committed quarterback for the Bobcats 2016 class. Unlike Williams, Kent doesn’t plan on changing his status anytime soon.
“Since day one, I’ve wanted to go to Texas State. When Coach Fran offered me, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind. Texas State, I’ve just always wanted to go there. My family goes there, I love the campus, I love the river; it’s without a question, my commit is solid.”