In October of 2015, former Pitt offensive coordinator Jim Chaney extended a scholarship offer to Kevin Doyle, a promising Class of 2018 quarterback from Malvern, PA. Over a year later, Jim Chaney is no longer with the University of Pittsburgh, nor is his replacement for that matter. While the offensive coordinators have changed, Doyle remains one of Pitt’s primary targets for 2018. On Wednesday night, Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with the 3-star recruit regarding numerous topics, including his thoughts on the Panthers’ recently appointed offensive coordinator, Shawn Watson.
“Coach Watson is a great hire,” Kevin told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I’ve known him from his days when he was at Indiana. He offered me when he was at Indiana University, so we’ve had a good relationship. He was recruiting me really hard there. When he changed jobs, it was a blessing in disguise because I was already talking to Pitt, and I have a great relationship with Pitt, and I was very happy to see that Coach Narduzzi made that hire.”
Coach Narduzzi is now on his third offensive coordinator in as many seasons. Some recruits, specifically quarterbacks, may view the turnover as a deterrent when assessing Pitt as a potential destination. As such, I asked Kevin if the changes at offensive coordinator have affected his perception of the Panthers’ football program.
“No, not at all, because I’m familiar with [Coach Watson], too.” Kevin added, “Hiring Coach Chaney was a great hire; he’s obviously a very good offensive coordinator. And Coach [Matt] Canada was a very good one as well. And I think you can attribute it to Coach Narduzzi allowing them to run what they think is best, and allowing them to put their offense into the players and putting the players in the best situations. And now that Coach Watson’s here, I really think it’s even better. Honestly. So he’ll be guns blazing. The offense was very powerful at Indiana, like a well-oiled machine. So I don’t think it will slow down at all.”
Even the top programs in college football watch coordinators and position coaches leave on a regular basis as they continue the climb towards a head coaching job. This is one of the reasons why a recruit’s relationship with a head coach typically matters most when it comes to recruiting. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi has demonstrated the ability to develop positive relationships with recruits in the past two seasons, and he continues to do so with Doyle. Kevin admires the straight forward demeanor of Coach Narduzzi, a man who he believes is “putting the program in the right direction.”
“I love [Coach Narduzzi’s] toughness—how he’s a very tough, defensive guy. He won’t play games with you. He won’t BS with you. He’ll tell you how it is, which is what I love. I love great communication. And he’s been reaching out to me a little bit, so it’s been great.”
Kevin will visit Pittsburgh this month when he attends Pitt’s Junior Day the weekend of February 18th. Aside from reuniting with Coach Watson, Doyle anticipates the opportunity to take a thorough tour of Oakland.
“My thoughts going in are that I’m just excited to be on campus again,” said Kevin. “I still have not been around the full campus. I’ve driven around myself, but I’m excited to get to see everything again and see what improvements have been made.”
When Kevin visits Pitt on the 18th, he will no longer be making the trip to Pittsburgh from Malvern, Pennsylvania; instead, he will be departing from the nation’s capital. Following his junior season at Malvern Prep, head coach Joe Casemento and St. John’s College High School offered Kevin the opportunity to play his senior season in Washington, D.C. Approximately three weeks ago, Doyle completed a mid-year transfer to St. John’s, where he will play for a team that finished the 2016 season ranked as the 30th best team in the country, per MaxPreps.
“St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C. is a phenomenal school. They play tremendous football, and they play on a national schedule. Right now, I think they’re ranked 24th in the country, and we’re probably going to play the #1 schedule in the country next year. And that really intrigued me, because to be the best, you have to play with the best, against the best. … I couldn’t pass up the great opportunity.”
Despite the difficult decision to leave Malvern Prep, Kevin will never forget the role his former school played in his development.
“Malvern’s great. Where I grew up, it was right down the street from me. [I have] a lot of friends there, and I was happy with my time there. And it really helped me get from where I was to where I am now. I got my first scholarship there, and I really kind of broke out there.”
For St. John’s to succeed in 2017, they will require game-changing efforts from their new quarterback. Luckily for the Cadets, Doyle is confident in his on-field abilities, and what he will bring to his new team.
“They’re going to get a 6’4” 210 [pound] pro-style kid who is able to run,” he asserted. “Right now, I’m running a 4.75 forty. My highlight tape—I have an 80-yard touchdown run. I’m not afraid to run either, because I’m very confident in my athleticism. But I will stay in the pocket and throw the deep ball, or throw the in, or throw the dig and take the hit; I’m used to that, I’m big enough to do that. But I can scramble and roll out and make plays with my feet, which is definitely a huge part of my game.”
You honor those who came before you, and you leave a legacy for those who come after. 😈👀🎯🚀
Check out my highlight – https://t.co/9La3vChsG9
— Kevin Doyle Jr (@Kevin_Doyle_13) November 29, 2016
Once Kevin completes his senior season at St. John’s, he will take his talents to the university he sees fit. While he may not know which university that is at the moment, he knows what he will look for in his future school.
“I think it [will be] just a well-rounded university. Good academics. Good sports. Not just good football, but good sports in general. That’s a good way to show that a university is well-rounded and has success in general. And then also to see a football program that maybe is on top—or maybe not on top. Maybe they’re on their way up and are progressing, just like Pitt. They’ve gotten a lot better under Coach Narduzzi, had some marquee wins this year, and I think they can go ahead and win the ACC if they really wanted to next year.”
Eventually, someone will land a commitment from this versatile quarterback. Do not expect an early decision from Doyle though, as he intends to take a “one step at a time” approach.
“I honestly don’t have a time table right now,” Doyle revealed. “I definitely want to wait through the spring evaluation and see who comes to see me, see what other scholarships I get, and see where else I am able to go for Junior Days. That’s really a huge thing for me to go see everything and make sure I’m making the right decision.”
Kevin holds offers from numerous schools, including Michigan State, Mississippi, Nebraska, and West Virginia; however, no school has emerged as a “favorite” yet. In fact, he insists that it is too early to even create a “Top Five” or “Top Ten” list. Based on his general assessment of Pitt though, the first team to offer Kevin remains high on his general list of potential destinations.
“They stand very high on the board. I really like Pitt in general. They are a very respectable program. My uncle went to Pitt, so I have family ties there. And so, it’s very high on the list and can stand with anybody, to be honest with you. … I feel really comfortable there and I could see it standing with anybody.”
To conclude our interview, I requested a featured photograph from Kevin to use for this article. He knew exactly which picture to offer, and was happy to oblige with one request: I mention his former teammate standing alongside him in the picture, Malvern Prep’s O’Shaan Allison. Allison, a Class of 2018 running back, missed much of the 2016 season due to injury following a rather impressive sophomore campaign. Doyle effused praise upon Allison, a player with which he would like Pitt fans to become acquainted, since Pitt has shown interest in the running back as well.
This gesture shows that Kevin Doyle is more than a physically gifted quarterback. He is the type of teammate players will be happy to follow, both on and off the field.