The year 2019 seems a long ways away, but the 2019 recruiting cycle is already represented well on the football field this spring.
Los Angeles (Calif.) freshman tight end and defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux is the face and voice of that class.
Despite only having three games of varsity football under his belt, Thibodeaux has scholarship offers from Utah and Montana State.
He will have many more.
“Montana State came by for a visit to my school and I just strolled by while the coaches were looking at the seniors,” said Thibodeaux. “Their coach saw me and started asking about me.
“I guess word got out, so he came to our Friday night lights game. He saw me play and offered me after that. Utah was there too, and I ended up talking with them later on. The coach said he was impressed with how articulate I am and that’s when they offered me a scholarship.”
Nowadays, scholarship offers are given out like event flyers at a seven-on-seven tournament, but freshmen don’t usually get looks from major programs this early.
“It’s the American dream,” said Thibodeaux, who transferred from Serra to Dorsey mid-season. “It was shocking and amazing to get a scholarship offer.
“So many things could have happened where those schools didn’t see me. I could have not played or missed school that day. I just thank God that I was in that position.”
At 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, Thibodeaux already looks the part of a college level athlete. However, in a limited amount of varsity snaps, he already has an impressive stat to his name.
“I ended up playing like three games in the playoffs for Dorsey, and I think I had about nine sacks in those three games,” said Thibodeaux. “That was a cool experience.
“I could see myself in the future playing wide receiver, but I have to work on my football work. Right now I’m a tight end on offense and a defensive end on defense. I think later on going into my senior year, I may end up playing more outside linebacker.”
Just a freshman, Thibodeaux has plenty of time to garner more scholarship offers and to develop a big head.
But Thibodeaux is also a lot more well-rounded than you’re average freshman football player.
“Truly, in my family there are only two H’s and that’s humble and hungry,” said Thibodeaux. “I have a 4.0 GPA, so I keep my grades up.
“I just keep working. I can never be the best, I can only get better. That’s where my focus lies.”
Thibodeaux has unofficially visited USC and has spoken some to the coaching staff. He received a invitation to attend the UCLA summer camp in June.
Growing up, Thibodeaux was a Trojan fan.
“I was a USC fan and get up in South L.A.,” said Thibodeaux. “I live just down the street from SC now, so it’s always been SC over UCLA.
“I took a mini-tour of the school when I went down there for a practice. We saw the Heisman trophy and the inside of some of the facilities. It was pretty good.”
Thibodeaux doesn’t define himself as a football player. In fact, he has a much more specific career pursuit in mind with or without football.
“I’m a lawyer,” said Thibodeaux. “I take classes where we have mock trials and debate.
“That’s really what I want to do. If the NFL doesn’t work out, or the Olympics for track or basketball… whatever, I want to be a lawyer. I’m not just looking for the program that fits me athletically, I’m looking for the best program that will give me a platform for another fours years in law school.”
So while Thibodeaux grew up a USC fan, his mind is open to seeing what colleges have to offer academically and athletically.
“Getting a scholarship offer is amazing in itself,” said Thibodeaux. “I’m grateful to any school that comes in to recruit me. I consider any opportunity a blessing.”