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Kenneth Channelle Leads by Example

By Barry Every
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Last season he averaged over 23 yards per reception while catching 11 touchdown passes. Channelle also averaged an amazing 30 yards per punt return.

Last season Jacksonville (Fla.) Ribault captured the 5A District 3 Title but were upended in the second round of the FHSAA playoffs by eventual State Runner-up Ponte Vedra (Fla.) 35-32. With a loaded junior class returning second year Head Coach Kelvin Smith has to be ecstatic about the opportunities in store for his Trojan squad this fall.

Having a direct impact on the fate of the Trojans is rising senior wide out Kenneth Channelle. Last season he averaged over 23 yards per reception while catching 11 touchdown passes. Channelle also averaged an amazing 30 yards per punt return. His hard work did not go unnoticed as he was named Times Union Third Team All-First Coast for all classifications.

“He is one of the tougher kids that I have ever coached at the wide receiver position,” Smith said. “If he gets knocked down, he’ll get right back up. Kenneth has really grown into the leader that I wanted him to be, and he is an excellent route runner.”

At this time his lone FBS offer is Central Michigan, with FCS offers from Campbell, Elon and Mercer. Channelle is also receiving heavy interest from Cincinnati, Georgia Southern, Tulane and UCF.

“Coach Sherrone Moore of Central Michigan is doing a great job of recruiting me, as a matter of fact the whole staff is,” Channelle said. “Coach John Bonamego actually called me himself to offer the scholarship; that was the first head coach I talked to and that really left an impression on me.”

Academically Channelle has already separated himself from most of his peers, sporting a 3.6 overall GPA and an 18 on the SAT. One conference he hopes to attract the attention of with his play on the field and academic standing is the Big Ten.

“He can definitely play at the FCS level, and I think if given the opportunity he would shock FBS schools with his ability,” Smith said. “I predict by the end of the season he will have several FBS offers. Kenneth is a high character kid, if I had a daughter he would definitely be a candidate. He does everything the right way, and if he can’t do it the right way – He just won’t do it.”

His only unofficial visit this spring was to Georgia Southern, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy this spring. Back in February he posted a 92.07 SPARQ rating at the Nike Opening Regional in Orlando, and in March he posted a solid 4-6 40-yard dash at the Three Stripe Camp in Oviedo, Florida.

In Ribault’s spring game versus Jacksonville (Fla.) Ed White he caught four passes, one for score in just one and a half quarter of play. On hand for his standout performance was no other than several coaches from Central Michigan.

“As a freshman Kenneth had to sit out do to the transfer rule,” White said. “Instead of pouting he really motivated himself and turned into a really great athlete. The bottom line is he did what he needed to get ready for the next three years of his high school career; that says a lot about his character.”

Channelle is also pivotal member of his high school’s 7-on-7 team as well as the traveling all-star’s known as Pro Impact. His Pro Impact team qualified for the 2017 NFA 7-on-7 National Championships to be held at IMG Academy June, 16 through 18.

On top of his commitment to both 7-on-7 squads, Channelle has mapped out an aggressive one-day camp circuit. He plans on showcasing his skills at Florida, Florida State and Mercer all in the month of June.

But winning more than a District Championship is constantly on the mind of this dynamic slot receiver. The Trojans have not won more than eight games in a season in well over a decade. What can he do to help his teammate’s breakout in a big way?

“It’s all about preparation, we need to be mentally ready every game, which we were not versus Ponte Vedra,” Channelle said. “I’m a playmaker but I am also a leader. I need to help my teammates do a better job in games and in the classroom. I’ve adopted a couple of the younger players on the team and I am trying to show them what needs to be done both on and off the field.”

Sometimes it’s more than what an athlete brings to the table as a player, every college team in America needs quality leadership. When the down and distance seems unsurmountable it’s the fight in the dog that will determine the outcome of a game.  I’m betting on Channelle to lead his fellow Trojans to heights unseen in a very long time.