E.A. Sports Today

On his terms

Oxford’s Britt won’t be rushed into making a commitment, has chosen a date to announce and is sticking to it

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Kenney Britt Jr. is sticking to his guns.

All summer long he has watched as college football prospects from across the southeast – many of whom he knows personally and gone to camps with – have been announcing their college commitments through various social media.

That’s all good for them and Britt has shown his support for all of them, but the four-star Oxford senior linebacker has said he would announce his much-awaited decision in early August and that’s still the plan.

The only concession — if you want to call it that — is he’ll announce his top five to seven choices from the nearly three dozen offers that have come his way right before he goes to The Opening, the elite 166-prospect camp at Nike headquarters next week in Oregon.

“Being recruited, I promise you, makes you realize what’s for you and what’s not,” he said. “I feel like holding out until August is probably best for me. I knew when some of these guys were going to commit, but it still didn’t change my mind.

“I’m not rushing because I know most of these schools are going to always have a spot for me. My friends who committed early don’t have dictation on what I’m going to do. It doesn’t change anything for me. I’m still gong to be (announcing) in August.”

With all respect to the other programs in the race, the ones that make the cut will be the only ones he’ll continue talking with before making his ultimate choice Aug. 6, the weekend of the mutual birthdays of his grandparents, a date he chose to announce months ago.

Earlier this spring he posted a non-binding top 10 that included Georgia, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Clemson, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

The final decision will not be made without a lot of thought and research.

“Everything is nice,” he said. “There’s probably not an SEC school you go, ‘Man, this is nice.’

“You just can’t sit here and compare, you have to figure out what’s in your heart. If you go off what’s nice at the school … you’d have to commit to everybody. You got to feel what in your heart and what’s right with you.”

As demanding as the process can be, Britt seems to be enjoying it and hasn’t let it get to him. His demeanor suggests he’s the same person he was in February when he had only three offers and a zero star as he is now as a four-star prospect with more than 30 offers. Just last week he was helping out at Kwon Alexander’s mini-camp for youth league players at McClellan.

The coaches who have visited him are coming away more impressed with Britt’s character as his athletic ability.

“Some of them are telling me they’ve never interacted with a kid who seemed as mature as he is,” Oxford coach Ryan Herring said. “A coach from Wake Forest told me, ‘I think our country has a chance because I’ve met Kenney Britt; I wasn’t real sure because some of the kids we recruit but now after talking to your linebacker I feel better about our country’s future.’ I’m thinking that’s pretty deep.

“Another said we’ve got linebackers who may be faster, bigger than him, but none are as high character as him; that’s why we want him. That’s as high praise as I’ve ever had a kid get from recruiters.”

The overflowing crate of letters and literature that sometimes come 15-20 at a time is now stuffed in a closet; he almost never brings them out now. He reads the handwritten notes, but most of the others end up in the crate, which before the explosion of offers was a mere shoebox.

The neatest pieces of correspondence, he said, are the edits that have him on billboards and scoreboards and such, several of which are hanging on the walls of his room.

“I went to a bunch of visits in the spring, but I’m still being bombarded by coaches who are like ‘Come visit us and see what we have to offer,’” he said. “It’s getting a little overwhelming, but like I told coach (Ryan) Herring the other day, I’m just going to be real. Some of these coaches I’m probably not going to visit. It’s all good. It’s not too much.”

Britt has formed some strong relationships with several of the coaches during the process; he connects with Florida’s Jim McElwain virtually every day and they talk about more than recruiting. It’s the nature of the beast he’ll be disappointing many coaches when they’re eliminated from his race, but he hopes they’ll understand.

“You can’t make everybody happy,” he said. “I respect them recruiting me, they should respect my decision. I’m not the only person who ever turned them down; I’m not going to be the last person to turn them down. You can’t have remorse because you can’t make everybody happy.

“Everybody’s message is the same thing — they want you — but at the end of the day you have to do what’s best for you. Some coaches, they’re truly behind you 100 percent of the way. If they get mad at me, hey, (that’s on them).”

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