Michigan passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton was watching ESPN on the night of Sept. 1 when Washington (D.C.) St. John’s Catholic played renowned Concord (Calif.) De La Salle. His decision to turn that on led to Michigan’s most recent commitment, St. John’s quarterback Kevin Doyle, who announced his commitment to the Wolverines on Sunday.
Doyle went 12-of-15 in the first half of that game, throwing one touchdown and rushing for another. His team would fall in a close 35-31 contest, but he finished the night with more than 300 yards passing. He had been to Michigan before, visiting Ann Arbor in February, but was not offered a scholarship and even as other programs did offer, his interest from Michigan seemed to wane.
That performance was more than enough for Hamilton to bring him up to head coach Jim Harbaugh.
“Coach Hamilton said he was watching the game and told Coach Harbaugh, 'We need to re-evaluate this Kevin Doyle; he's a nice player,'” Doyle said. “They re-watched the film, got in touch, and I got to go up with my teammate Quentin Johnson for the Air Force game. We spent a lot of time together and it was all positive.”
The Wolverines still wanted to see more. Next, they wanted to see how Doyle would do against St. Joseph Regional, then the No. 14 team in the country. Doyle passed for 350 yards and two touchdowns, leading his team to a win. That was enough for Michigan. They offered Doyle shortly after.
“He’s a sneaky athlete,” said Next Level Greats’ Marcus Hammond, who has served as Doyle’s quarterback and 7-on-7 coach. “What I mean by that is, he’s 6-foot-4, 210-215 pounds, and on a good day, he’s run 4.7 flat this summer. But what a lot of people don’t know is, the kid can dunk a basketball. I think he can do a 360-dunk, and when he was younger, he was blocking kicks and catching touchdowns. So as a quarterback, he has the ability to extend plays, even though he’s a throw-first guy.”
Doyle held over 20 scholarship offers. Ole Miss, Pitt, Boston College and many more were on that list. He transferred from Malvern Prep in Pennsylvania to St. John’s this season.
He did not post big stats as a junior, but as a senior, against good competition, he has been consistently posting good numbers. Hammond believes the bright lights have brought out his best qualities.
“He is probably the fiercest competitor that (Michigan would) ever get,” he said. “To me, what drives Kevin’s development is that he’s never satisfied. He’s always looking to go one step further, it doesn’t matter if it’s football, tic-tac toe, basketball, rock-paper-scissors, he always competes and always wants to win.”
Michigan’s offense and the chance to be coached by Harbaugh and Hamilton, two men who have NFL credentials, made Doyle’s choice a quick one once he was offered.
"Just the reputation of Michigan, having some of the top football players in the country," he said. "They're a great football team. The University of Michigan is a great academic institution. Coach Harbaugh and Coach Hamilton developed many quarterbacks and I've seen the quarterbacks playing there and the quarterbacks they have previously had, and I think I fit the mold really well."
He returns to Michigan the weekend of Oct. 7 for his official visit.
Doyle is one of two quarterbacks in the class, joining Joe Milton. Michigan fans may have questions about what the future holds under center, but there is one thing that is not in question – Kevin Doyle is going to compete for the job with everything he has.
“He’s a competitor,” Hammond said. “In training sessions, every single rep he wants to win. So if we are doing a quiz on the chalkboard, he wants to get the highest score. If we’re traveling on the bus to go to eat, he wants to be first in line. When he’s around guys he’s comfortable with, he’s always cracking jokes. He’s a great kid, always happy, and his personality brings the most out of his teammates.”
Doyle is the 14th overall commitment for Michigan in the 2018 recruiting class. He is their first commitment from D.C.
Wolverine commit sets Alabama official
Emil Ekiyor Jr., an offensive lineman from Indianapolis Cathedral, will be at Alabama for his official visit this weekend. Ekiyor Jr., who has been committed to Michigan since last October, told The Michigan Insider’s Josh Newkirk that he is still solid to Michigan.
“It’s sort of a second look (at Alabama) and just making sure I’m making the right decision,” he said. “I kind of just want to go down there and compere to Michigan, just take in everything (and) enjoy the recruiting process.”
He will visit Michigan twice more this season, including his official visit, which will be the weekend of Nov. 25 when the Wolverines face rival Ohio State.
Linebacker commit has big week
Indianapolis Lawrence Central linebacker Cameron McGrone, a Wolverine commit since August, had 19 tackles and forced a fumble in the game’s final moments to preserve his team’s 14-12 victory over Center Grove.
McGrone (6-2, 215 pounds) has played well as a senior since returning from a knee injury that caused him to miss part of his junior year and a good chunk of the offseason.
He is a U.S. Army All-American and will play in January’s All-American Bowl alongside fellow Wolverine commits Aidan Hutchinson, Emil Ekiyor Jr. and Jalen Mayfield.
Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.