Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Longhorns visit the Buckeyes


Mirror Photo
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS coaches made a courtesy visit to Gilmer High School recently where they met with the mentor of one of the state’s top Class 3A football programs, Gilmer Buckeyes Head Coach/Athletic Director Jeff Traylor. At right with his arm on the shoulder of his friend, Coach Traylor, is Texas Longhorns Head Coach Mack Brown. At left are two of Brown’s colleagues on the Texas staff, Greg Davis and Ken Rucker. Davis is the Longhorns’ offensive coordinator and also coaches UT quarterbacks while Rucker coaches the running backs at the Big 12 program in Austin.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Gilmer has four players make Academic All-State

By JOE DODD
The Texas High School Coaches Association recently released their 2006 Academic All-State Football Team and four members of the Gilmer Buckeyes were selected to the elite team. Evin Wilson was named to the first team, while Jud Murry and Adam Turner were named to the second team. Dakota Bickerdike earned honorable mention honors.
The teams are selected by a point system that awards points for GPA, class rank and SAT or ACT score. The student/athletes are then placed on teams according to the number of points they have earned. Criteria required to be nominated is an overall GPA of 92 or above, including grades 9-12 and the first six weeks of grade 12. Be a member of the team in good standing at the time of nomination, and be of good moral character.
Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor praised the selection of four of his senior players. “Those kids really typify what athletics are supposed to be about,” said Traylor.
Turner credits Traylor and his staff for prioritizing academics. “The coaches put a lot of emphasis on academics, because they realize that not everyone is going to be gifted enough to go to college and play football,” Turner said. “They really emphasize the importance of good grades, and how that’s going to carry us farther in life than football will. They really encourage us and check up on us to see how we are doing.”
Wilson is grateful for the recognition. “It means a pretty good deal to me because we go to the classroom every day and we do well even though we still have practice after school.” Murry agrees, “It’s nice to know that I have something to show for it.”
Bickerdike said that the award disproves the stereotype of the “dumb jock.” “It shows that not only can we play football, but that we can be successful in the classroom.”

Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby
EVIN WILSON of the Buckeyes was named to the THSCA Academic All-State first team.

Kinne changes his mind about college future

By JOE DODD
Gilmer Buckeyes’ senior quarterback G.J. Kinne announced last week that he had accepted a scholarship offer from the University of Texas to play football for the Longhorns, despite giving an oral commitment to Big 12 Conference rival Baylor in July of last year.
Kinne’s latest decision is sure to receive the same national attention as his previous moves. As a freshman in 2003, Kinne moved from Mesquite to Canton, where his father, Gary Joe Kinne had just been named the Eagle’s head football coach. Kinne the quarterback, helped Kinne the coach, turn around the Eagles program immediately. Canton went 8-4, and won their first playoff game since 1964. After two years at Canton, the Kinnes turned into a national story when an irate parent walked into the Canton field house and shot Gary Joe in the stomach. Kinne survived the shooting and returned to coach the Eagles for the 2005 season. Canton’s players responded with the school’s best season ever; a 12-2 record before losing to eventual state champion Tatum.
Gary Joe Kinne was selected as the 2005 Adams USA National Head Coach of the Year, while G.J. was named the Associated Press Player of the Year.
In January of last year, Gary Joe announced that he was leaving Canton to accept a job at his alma matter, Baylor University, as the linebacker’s coach. Most people assumed G.J would follow his father to Waco to finish his high school career, but instead he moved with his mother and stepfather to Gilmer and enrolled in school in April.
After committing to the Bears, Kinne led the Buckeyes to a 10-1 record, throwing for 3,261 yards and 47 touchdowns before losing to eventual state champion Liberty-Eylau in the first round of the playoffs. For the second straight year, Kinne was named the AP Class 3A Offensive Player of the Year.
Two weeks ago, Texas lost prized quarterback recruit John Brantley, when the Florida native changed his oral commitment from the Longhorns to his home-state Florida Gators. That opened the door for Kinne to join the Longhorns.
“Every time that I went there for a visit, I could tell that it was a real special place, and they have a great football team,” said Kinne, who added that the decision to change his commitment from Baylor was not an easy one. “It was very difficult, especially since my dad is a coach there and I have a lot of ties there. But when it comes down to it, I have to make the right decision for me. It might be real hard for me right now, but in the future I think it will be for the best.”
Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor admonishes fans to not judge his senior quarterback too harshly for changing his mind. “When the opportunity presented itself; he took it,” said Traylor. “For anybody to second guess that young man is really not giving him enough credit to know that he’s researched it and decided that is what is best for him. I trust that he did what is best for him.”
Kinne credits his move to Gilmer for the opportunity with the Longhorns. “We run more of a pro-style offense and the coaches have really helped me improve my mechanics. I think they liked how much I learned in one year.”
Traylor agreed with Kinne, but said that most of the credit goes to his quarterback. “G.J. Kinne is a great football player that is very intelligent; he has high character, and he earned it. That’s the first and foremost reason. The second reason is we have developed some very good quarterbacks in the past. We’ve coached Randy McCown, Josh McCown, Luke McCown and Manuel Johnson. We’ve coached some very good quarterbacks over the last fifteen years, so when we tell colleges about a quarterback, they believe us because we tell them the truth. So I think G.J.’s stock improved by coming here.”
Kinne’s move to Gilmer also introduced him to another future Longhorn teammate in Gilmer receiver Curtis Brown, who committed to Texas last March. “When G.J. moved here, Curtis was the one that really took him in and made it easier for G.J.” said Traylor. Kinne admitted that Brown’s presence in Austin played a big role in his decision. “We’re such great friends, and we get along so well together, and I know that we’ll be able to room together,” said Kinne.
Traylor said that he is pleased that Kinne has the opportunity to play in Austin. “We didn’t win a state championship, which was very disappointing; we didn’t get him his passing record, which was very disappointing, so I’m just very happy for him that he got something that he really wanted, because he was nothing but unselfish the entire time he was here.”

Brown, Kinne play in all-star games

By JOE DODD
Gilmer Buckeyes’ and future Texas Longhorn teammates G.J. Kinne and Curtis Brown will play in nationally televised football all-star games on Saturday, Jan. 6. Brown will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl starting at 12 noon on NBC. Kinne will play in the East Meets West High School All-American Football Game starting at 2 p.m. on ESPN-U.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, while the East Meets West High School All-American Football Game will be played at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Brown will play cornerback for the West Team despite seeing limited playing time on defense the past two seasons. Brown started at cornerback as a sophomore on the Buckeyes’ 2004 state championship team before moving to receiver his final two seasons. As a receiver Brown totaled 1,944 yards on 103 catches and scored 24 touchdowns. He also ran for 918 yards and scored 9 touchdowns on only 63 carries. Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor said that Brown won’t have any trouble moving back to the defensive side of the football. “Curtis playing defensive back is like me and you riding a bicycle,” said Traylor. “He’s not going to forget. Curtis Brown is the greatest athlete I’ve ever coached.”
Brown is projected to play cornerback for the Longhorns, but said that he hopes to see action on both sides of the ball in the Army All-American Game. “I’m going to try to play offense some. They list me as a cornerback, so I don’t know,” said Brown, who is rated by Scout.com as the top recruit in the state of Texas.
There is no debate over what position Kinne will play. The senior transfer finished his high school career at Gilmer by throwing for 3,261 yards and 47 touchdowns, giving the quarterback 11,762 yards and 133 touchdowns passing for his career. Those numbers rank him third and second on Texas’ all-time list.
“He’ll learn the offense the quickest,” suggested Traylor. “He’s learning his third offense in a year. He’ll do well. G.J. loves to play football. He loves to compete.”
Kinne claims that his statistics don’t stand out when compared to the other football players participating in the All-American Game. “There are a lot of great players here. I don’t know how I compare to any of these guys, but I know there are a lot of great players here.”
Traylor said the exposure to other great players will only help Kinne and Brown. “Curtis called me on Wednesday and said, ‘Coach, I’m not the best player down here. There are guys here better than I am.’ And that’s saying something.”
Kinne shares Brown’s assessment, but doubts his teammate’s self-evaluation. “Curtis is pretty humble though,” stated Kinne. “He probably is the best player there.”
“I’m excited for both of those kids. It’s really good for both of them,” said Traylor. “They’ll both represent our program well. They’ll behave, and we’ll get more kids down there one day.”
Brown and Kinne are excited for the opportunity to represent Gilmer on national television. “A lot of people in Texas know about Gilmer, but now people across the nation are getting to know Gilmer,” Kinne said. “They’re starting to recognize how good football is in Gilmer. It’s a pleasure to be from Gilmer now.”