To get a scholarship to play football at Division I-A Kent State, Gar-Field senior Flordell Kissee’s willing to wait a year if necessary.
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound all-state offensive lineman said Tuesday that he plans to sign with the Golden Flashes today. He’ll remain teammates with Gar-Field running back Rasheed McClaude, who made a verbal commitment to Kent State on Dec. 30.
“I took my visit this past weekend, and I met a lot of kids — just regular students — from this area,” said Kissee, who played right tackle for Gar-Field. “I’m all the way up in Ohio and I feel like I’m at home.”
For now, Kissee is a partial academic qualifier and his family would have to pay for his first year of college. Even he doesn’t get the necessary standardized-test score, he can play in the 2004 season, with four years of eligibility remaining.
“He can practice with the team already, and he still has a chance to be eligible,” Gar-Field coach Jim Poythress said.
Kissee said West Virginia had made a similar offer, but with less of a guarantee. He did not visit the Mountaineers, whose coaching staff had seen him on game film.
“At Kent State, they only talked about football 15 to 20 percent,” said Kissee, who went with his mother, Sheborah, to visit the school. “The rest of it, they were talking about academics and what they would do when I got up there.”
Three members from last year’s regional-qualifying Gar-Field team are expected to sign with schools on this, the first day of the national signing period for football — McClaude and Kissee with Kent State and offensive lineman Mo Steward with Division I-AA Georgetown.
Though McClaude committed to Kent State five weeks ago, he apparently gave Kissee a soft-sell on the Golden Flashes. Kissee said, “He was just telling me, ‘You’re really going to like your visit because it’s a nice college.’ And he was right.”
Poythress added, “It’s kind of interesting that they both chose Kent State, but it just worked out that way. [Kent State assistant coach] A.J. Pratt was highly active with both boys from the beginning. [Pratt’s] a real good man who’s sincere and kind of mild-mannered. He went in with some of the big names and came away with two of our kids.”
Elsewhere in the area, Woodbridge running back/linebacker James Terry will sign with Virginia. He made a verbal commitment to the Cavaliers last summer.
Tony Evans, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker from North Stafford, will sign with Division I-AA Hampton. Evans, who also visited James Madison, was an all-Commonwealth District selection at linebacker as a senior after recording 63 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, three sacks and four fumble recoveries.
“He thought it was a better fit for him academically,” North Stafford coach Eric Cooke said.
Evans has not qualified academically yet, but Cooke said Evans is close to achieving the necessary academic requirements needed for freshman eligibility.
“Hampton is aware of his situation, but they are going about things with the plan of honoring everything,” Cooke said. “It’s not going to be a situation where he can get bumped.”
Sports editor David Fawcett contributed to this report.