If Kiante Young has any regrets, it’s waiting until his junior season at East Hall High to start playing football. This rising senior always thought basketball was going to be his ticket to a college scholarship.
It turns out, he’s a much more prized commodity on the football field.
"Kiante is the perfect example of a player that started playing too late," East Hall coach Bryan Gray said.
But Young’s delayed decision to play football for the Vikings hasn’t kept the college football scouts away. Heading into his second year as a starter, Young is getting attention from as many as 20 colleges interested in offering him a football scholarship. Gray added that more than 30 schools have had coaches at Vikings practice to see Young in action, not to mention the barrage of calls, text message and letters he’s been getting.
"Coaches are putting on a full-court press to get Kiante," Gray added.
Gray says that there is no doubting his strong safety/outside linebacker’s ability to play at the next level, but interested coaches are going to hold out until they see his highlight tape from the first game of the season.
"Coaches are drooling to get that tape from his first game," Gray said. "They are going to remain skeptical until they see that first game tape."
Young’s top five right now are Vanderbilt, N.C. State, Duke, The Citadel and Wake Forest. The school he attends in the future is going to have to be strong academically for this future criminal law major. He carries a 3.7 grade point average and a 3.4 in his core classes, according to Gray.
The East Hall coach also says that Ole Miss and Indiana are in the picture for Young.
This summer Young has taken in camps at Vandy and Duke to get the chance to see the campuses first-hand. He says there’s no rush to make a decision where he wants to play in college.
"It’s exciting and nerve-racking at the same time," Young said of the recruiting process. "But my main focus right now is to have a good season at East Hall."
Even though Young is going to play predominately on the defensive side of the ball his senior season, he understands that running back might be where his future is. Young’s numbers in the weight room are astonishing for a 6-foot-1, 190 pounder — a squat max of 475 pounds, 305 on the bench press and a 4.47 second time in the 40-yard dash.
"Kiante is an SEC athlete, but the top SEC schools aren’t going to take a chance on him since he started so late," Gray said. "He’s still undeveloped fundamentally and relies on his athletic ability to play."
As a junior, Young averaged 20 yards per catch and added 50 tackles on defense in eight games played. He was a second-team All-Region 7-AAA selection last season at wide receiver.