There's been a lot of talk and debate lately (on this site and others) about Player of the Year awards, Mr. Football, etc. Well folks, there's no question about who the best player in the state is. It's Jake Kiley, a senior quarterback and defensive back at the New Hampton School. Kiley (from Plymouth, NH) plays at New Hampton where his father Edward Kiley is the head coach.
Last year as a junior, Kiley threw 14 touchdown passes, ran for 10 TD's and on defense he made 4 interceptions, 47 tackles and 3 sacks. He was named the Evergreen League's Player of the Year. And in August, Kiley committed to play his college football at Penn State University in the Big 10 conference.
Kiley was kind enough to agree to do an exclusive interview with the New Hampshire Notebook. Below is his junior season highlight tape, followed by the interview.
Jeremy Leveille: Talk about your commitment to Penn State. What other schools were you considering and why did you ultimately choose Penn St.?
Jake Kiley: I committed to Penn State because they have the perfect balance between football and academics. With one of the nations most historic programs, the best fans, and great academics i couldn't go wrong. I was looking at Virgina, Duke, Connecticut and Boston College. None of them could offer the same things that Penn State is able to offer, so the decision was easy for me.
JL: What do you foresee your role being with the Nittany Lions football team over the next few years?
JK: I hope to train very hard this winter and spring with a chance to go in and have an opportunity to start at corner. I also wish to work hard and become a team leader and become a Captain for the team towards my senior year.
JL: Talk about the importance of academics as well as football ability when obtaining a scholarship. How (if at all) have your grades and test scores helped you in the recruiting process?
JK: Academics are a huge part of the process. Before receiving an offer from any school they ask what kind of person are you character wise and how are your grades.
JL: What do you plan on studying at Penn State?
JK: I'm not quite sure on what I would like to study yet, but it will be something with business and possibly law (not criminal justice).
JL: Talk about your decision to go prep. Have you attended New Hampton all 4 years? What made you decide to attend New Hampton instead of Plymouth High, considering Plymouth had the nation's longest winning streak?
JK: Going prep was the best decision of my life. I've been here for 4 years and New Hampton was a great way to get my name out there. I chose NH over Plymouth because the comp is a lot better and your chance of getting looks from coaches are higher. Plymouth had that winning streak but NH high school football's competition isn't like the other states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Alabama and so on. That's why there aren't any D-I coaches that come to NH.
JL: Talk about what it's been like playing for your father. How did that influence your decision to attend New Hampton? How has he helped you develop as a player and also help during the recruiting process?
JK: It's been great. He's helped me not only become a player but a student of the game as well. He's been a huge help in helping me become a better player in order to get my name out there.
JL: What other coaches helped you over the years in your development? What showcases/events did you attend which helped you get noticed?
JK: Our assistant Coach, Coach Doell has been a huge help as well, making my foot work improve since i started for him my freshman year in a major way. And I didn't do any showcases really, all they do is make you spend money and create online "hype". I went to 7 football camps that were all run by the schools themselves. Why go spend money at a combine when the coach can't even be there when you could pay less in most cases and attend the camps that are being held by the schools that you are interested in?
JL: It is not every day that a NH kid commits to play football at a school like Penn State. What advice would you give to younger NH football players around the state on the recruiting process who look up to you and hope to achieve similar success on the field?
JK: I would just say to surround yourself with people who want the same goals as you do, work hard everyday and stay out of trouble by making the right decisions by being a leader and not a follower. Also, go to a prep school in order to get some looks because very little to no coaches come to NH to find talent so get your name out there by playing better competition than NH football.