TRAVERSE CITY — As it stands, there are now three Traverse City football players from the class of 2014 who have committed to Division 1 programs.
St. Francis’ Jake Khoury became the third to commit to college football’s highest level when he accepted a scholarship offer from Buffalo.
Khoury joins teammate Byron Bullough (Michigan State) and TC West’s Connor Hayes (Pittsburgh) as those who have solidified their future plans prior to their senior years.
Buffalo was Khoury’s first offer, and though he visited or received interest from a handful of other schools, Michigan State and Notre Dame among them, he decided he didn’t need to wait any longer to make up his mind.
“Coach (Jeff) Quinn, he’s really building something special there,” said Khoury. “I just want to be a part of it. The coaching staff he has, some of them are legends — Lou Tepper is his defensive coordinator, Jappy Oliver’s the D-line coach and they have coach (Don) Patterson (the recruiting coordinator) from Iowa.”
Khoury will be a four-year starter on the defensive line for the Gladiators when all is said and done, having been a staple in that position since his freshman year.
“He has been a big contributor,” said St. Francis head coach Greg Vaughn. “I know there’s been some pressure on him with his cousin (former Michigan lineman Rocko Khoury), then some kids from our school going other places. What I’m most proud of with Jake is he went through the process with the right frame of mind. I tell the kids all the time, having coached in college, I see too many kids choose schools for all the wrong reasons. Whether it’s the biggest offer, or whatever. I think Jake really went through the process and narrowed it down to some schools he really liked. What he found in Buffalo, he loved the school. His aspirations and goals in the medical area afterwards get him there and it’s a highly academic school, and that’s something he was really striving for.”
Khoury also liked the location of the Mid-American Conference school, which posted a 4-8 record in 2012 that put it in the middle of the East Division pack.
“I’ve always liked the East Coast, especially New York, because of the economy, those sorts of things,” said the 6-foot-3, 285-pounder. “Also, the school is a really quality academic school.”
Khoury indicated he’s firmly committed to the Bulls, dashing the notion that he could change his mind before he’s allowed to sign a letter of intent in February.
“He’s just a great kid, gets it done in the classroom, he’s a spiritual kid, so faith is very important to him, and then he goes hard,” said Vaughn. “He’ll play with a chip on his shoulder, but deep down inside he’s a kind-hearted kid. What I Iove most is part of the reason he wanted to commit is he wants to move on and make sure this year, his senior year, the team does as well as we possibly can.”
The recruiting process wasn’t too much of a distraction, according to Khoury, but it does take one item to be considering off the table.
“Obviously, there’s going to be less worry, so that could result in more focus,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a deal.
“It’s like a life goal. It’s good to accomplish things like that.”