With the spring evaluation period underway, college coaches are out in full force, hitting the road to visit as many schools in their recruiting area as possible over the next couple of weeks. For a highly sought after prospect like Christian French, that means a constant stream of assistant coaches stopping by your high school, which is not the norm at Cedar Rapids Kennedy. We caught up with Kennedy head coach Tim Lewis to talk about the recent visitors he has had, what those conversations have been like, the latest on French's recruiting, and much more.
Q: Is it safe to say this has been a pretty busy week for you?
LEWIS: It's been pretty crazy. Coach Morgan from Iowa was here on Monday, Coach Martin from Notre Dame was here yesterday, and Coach Stamn from Kansas is coming today. Kansas offered him last week. Then Coach Messingham from Iowa State is coming Friday and Coach Miller from Kansas State is also coming Friday. Coach Cotton from Nebraska was in last Friday.
Q: You have had kids recruited by Division I schools before, but not quite at this level.
LEWIS: No, never. Ben Lamaak is at Iowa State, but a grayshirt offer was the only thing he had at first. I've never had anybody offered a full ride out of high school, so this is kind of the first time I've been through this whole process. It's been very interesting to say the least.
Q: What do you hear from a lot of the coaches as they try to learn more about Christian?
LEWIS: Every one of them is trying to get to know him better as a person. It's kind of nice because I tell our players this all of the time that what you do off the field matters. Programs can't afford to have a black eye anymore. If you screw up as an athlete, everybody knows about it. Sometimes I think they think I'm just saying that, but now I can back up my words because every one of these coaches want to know what kind of person he is, if he's been in trouble, and those things because they can't afford to take kids like that. They really dive into what his family is like, how supportive his parents are, and all of that. I've been very impressed, to be quite honest with you, with every coach that has come through here.
Q: What do you tell the coaches, or rather what can you tell us, about him as a person?
LEWIS: Oh, I have nothing bad to say about the kid. He's a tremendous young man, very well spoken, and has good behavior. I've never seen him act in any way that would ever bring any kind of disgrace to his family. He's just a really, really good kid. His dad is a very strong influence in his life. If you ever meet Cherokee, you'll understand why Christian is the way he is because he sets down the law. Christian knows that and that's the way he was brought up. His parents are divorced and re-married, but it's still a very strong family. He lives with his mom, but his dad is a huge part of his life.
Q: Are some of the coaches talking more about specific positions when they visit as far as an athlete, linebacker, wide receiver, tight end, defensive end?
LEWIS: Yeah. Most of them have just been interested in him as an athlete. They ask some offensive questions just because the video that they've seen has just one offensive play and that's him scoring on a reverse. They've got questions as to whether or not he could be a Division I receiver and I'm honest with them. I tell them I don't know. He's going to play a lot of offense for us, but I don't know. This is really only his second year of football. He didn't play his freshman year and then started for us as a sophomore. His football knowledge is ongoing and he's still learning. I think that all I can do is be honest with them. They like his height and they like his speed obviously. Notre Dame has pretty much flat out said defense is what we're looking at, but really everybody else has said we'll find a spot for him. We just like his athleticism.
As a junior, French collected 77 tackles playing free safety and had one punt return for a 46-yard touchdown. Currently, the 6-foot-6, 218-pound junior holds scholarship offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Notre Dame, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State, Wisconsin, Louisville, and most recently Nebraska, which just came today.
Rivals.com lists French among the top 250 players to watch nationally in the class of 2011.
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