Georgetown University football Coach Kevin Kelly developed a familiarity with the local recruiting scene during his career as a Football Bowl Subdivision (then Division-IA) assistant.
In stops at Syracuse, Marshall and Navy, Kelly counted the Washington area in his recruiting territory, notably bringing former H.D. Woodson quarterback Byron Leftwich to Marshall. The 1997 honorable mention All-Met selection went on to become a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.
“This area’s got very good football,” said Kelly, who will enter his eighth season at Georgetown in the fall. “When you look at major colleges, you see a lot of big-time programs coming in here to try and pluck guys out. That says it all.”
Recruiting to the Hilltop provides its own set of recruiting challenges: The Patriot League school has strict academic requirements and though the team competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, it does not offer football scholarships.
In turn, Kelly follows a national recruiting model that mirrors the Ivy League schools, but he also recognizes the importance of identifying local prospects that could find a fit with the Hoyas.
While the team’s latest recruiting class, announced Thursday, included 23 players from 12 different states, the local flavor stood out. The list featured four Virginia players and two more from Maryland, almost as many players from within The Post coverage area as the past three years combined (seven total).
George Mason kicker Henry Darmstadter, Annandale defensive lineman Bryan Jefferson, McLean longsnapper Robert Longwell, Langley linebacker Phil Novacki, Severn kicker Ben Priddy and Quince Orchard running back Tyrell Williams are all slated to join Kelly’s squad in the fall.
“I think we’re getting a lot more credibility, locally,” said Kelly, whose sons both played for John Howerton at Langley.
There’s a good chance that on-field performance plays a role in the program’s local recruiting success. After posting five total wins in Kelly’s first four seasons, the Hoyas are 17-16 over the past three years.
Kelly traditionally holds two junior days in the summer, encouraging area prospects to make a trip to campus. This year, he’ll be limited to one date (July 20) with Multi-Sport Field scheduled to get its turf replaced in June.
“We make sure that the coaches that have the local areas do a thorough job,” Kelly said. “We’ll go out on Friday nights and double check our lists. We want to be able to bring in the guys that have the academic and athletic credentials that we’re looking for.”