Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Next Big Thing: Millis' Kevin Pyne Could be Massachusetts' Biggest Football Recruit in a Generation

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

MILLIS - Since the dawn of the "recruiting website" era in college football, Massachusetts has seen its fair share of highly-regarded prospects. Catholic Memorial teammates Armani Reeves and Camren Williams in 2012 come to mind, as do Everett's John Montelus and Xaverian's Maurice Hurst in 2013.

There are numerous others but, dating back to when took recruiting coverage from a niche to national news in the early 2000s, the Commonwealth has never produced a 5-star prospect. None. Not one, according to any of the major ranking services.

That could soon change, however, thanks to Millis offensive tackle Kevin Pyne. The 6-foot-8, 275 lb. sophomore is currently rated as the No. 2 prospect in the entire country for the class of 2020. That is according to 247 Sports' composite ranking, which also lists Pyne as a 5-star recruit.

Whether you're favorite team is a power program in the Sunshine State, a Big Ten Blue Blood, a glitzy California mainstay, or anyone in between, chances are they have, or will, offer this small-town phenom.

Heck, the coaches over in Chestnut Hill would probably give anything to see Pyne in a Boston College uniform.

Get in line.

With over 15 scholarship offers already in hand, Pyne is poised to be the most decorated recruit in recent Massachusetts history. But if that attention has gone to the super soph's head, he isn't showing it.

"I'm humbled by all this stuff, but I'm trying really hard not to think about it at this point," Pyne said. "Holliston (Millis' opening night opponent) is what's on my mind."

"Kevin is a humble kid, and he comes from a football family," Millis coach Dana Olson said. "His uncle played in the NFL, his dad played D1 football, and his grandfather played in the NFL. Even I was a little shocked he was the No. 2 overall prospect in the country (for 2020), but I'm not even sure he realizes the magnitude of that (ranking), which is a good thing."

While Pyne's individual focus is on helping Millis repeat as state champions, there's no question he will receive some extra attention in the coming years. Millis has produced a number of Division 1 prospects recently, including current Villanova lineman Peter Fallon, New Hampshire receiver Brian Espanet (a Hopedale student who played for the now disbanded Millis-Hopedale co-op) and, of course, star Boston College center Jon Baker.

Still, none of those guys had the spotlight on them the same way Pyne will over the next several seasons. Another first for Pyne will be adjusting to life on both sides of the ball. Already the team's starting left tackle on offense, look for Pyne to anchor Millis' three-man defensive line as an end.

"I'm excited to play defense again," Pyne said. "I used to love playing defense, just hitting people. It's been a couple years, but now I'm gonna get back to it. We've been working all offseason, getting in condition for it, so I'm just excited to play both ways."

As for where he will end up for college… Don't believe anybody who tells you they know.

Pyne says he does talk to Baker, but don't take that as an indication that he will stay home and play for the Eagles. Also don't buy the hype that, just because Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown is friends with Millis coach Dana Olson, that Pyne is a lock to be a Wolverine.

This is just getting started, but if Pyne continues to develop at this rate, he, along with a number of other promising players across the state, could help put Massachusetts football on the map.

"Kevin has still got a ways to go," coach Olson added. "But he played at 255 (lbs.) last year, and now he's playing at 275 (lbs), so, he's doing the right things. He's working hard, his offseason has been great, and we expect great things from him."

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