With Spring ball just around the corner and fresh off of a busy camp and training circuit Kolney Cassel decided it was time to call it quits and make a decision. Recruiting was just getting to be a distraction and causing some frustrations too. So this afternoon we broke the story that he has committed to the SMU Mustangs.
"Coach Mason was here at Eisenhower HS today talking to Coach Eyman and the timing was perfect. This morning my Mom told me it was time to make my decision," said Cassel. "So I let Coach know I was coming to SMU to play Quarterback."
And the decision seems sealed in cement. Maybe that is because he made this decision quite a while ago at the SMU Campus. His visit in March followed his offer from the Mustangs and Cassel was feeling like he had found a home.
When he returned after that visit Kolney admits his Mom was not sold on her boy leaving the Region. Football is a huge part of their life and to have her boy that far a way did not sit well. The hope has been that WSU, who had shown and expressed a lot of interest in him, would pull the trigger.
That would allow Cassel to stay in Eastern Washington and play for what appears to be a rising team in a system fit for his rocket-arm and quick release.
But the time that has passed has weighed on Kolney and his Family too. As much as they hoped he could stay in the Region they also could see he was growing weary and unhappy. That led to a meeting in the Kitchen this morning with he and his Mom and a decision was reached.
"She told me I would know when it was time to decide. And I told her I have known since the minute I went there to SMU. I wanted to be a Mustang then and I feel more strongly about that now," he added. "She hugged me and said to go for it. She sees this is the best thing for me all around."
That certainly appears to be true. Coach June Jones offense is well suited to Cassel's skills. The sense of family he is looking for is there too. The opportunity is right and they have the degree program he is seeking.
Talking to him today followed many conversations we have had in recent months. Gone is the tentativeness we have sensed and the strain he clearly has been under.
We could not help but ask if a weight had been lifted?
"Oh my gosh yes. So much so you can not believe it. This just feels amazing. I could not be happier."
With pep in his step and fire in his belly Kolney says the days of chasing the recruiting scene and offers are over. No more showcases. No more college camps outside his team camp. No more struggling for respect on the Eastside of the Mountains.
"I am 100% focused on my school and being the best leader I can be on this team. That is what I need to do. You will see me working harder then ever but it will be 100% on Eisenhower Football and school. And that is the way it should be for a Senior," he said emphatically.
Will he miss Yakima after High School?
"Of course I will. But leaving home to play is probably best for me. This is my chance to spread my wings and make my own way. The weather is really great in Texas and I will have friends there; especially Nate Halverson from Grant High School in Oregon who committed yesterday. And who knows maybe our good friend Tere Calloway (Seattle Prep) will want in too. That would be really cool," he said. "Mom works for Alaska Air Lines and will be able to fly to see me often and I will come home of course. So when we really talked about things we could see this is going to be great."
Kolney thanked his High School Coaches and his QB guru Chris Miller for being instrumental in his decision and recognized Coach John Charles of Air One Football for recommending him to the SMU Staff who is so close too.
What more can we say. Cassel joins Max Browne of Skyline who is verbally committed to USC and Sefo Liufau of Bellarmine Prep who is committed to Colorado in the 2013 committed QB's club. This is shaping up to be one great season with so many top QB's.
Isaac Dotson of Newport grabbed his 3rd offer of the week with Montana State wanting him to play QB and Billy Green of King's HS is gaining significant interest too. Two more top QB's in a super talented bunch here in the Evergreen State.