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Kellgren makes verbal commit to YSU

Even though the recruiting process has been tumultuous for players and coaches alike, high school seniors are still deciding where they want to continue their academic and athletic careers.

Poland offensive lineman Karter Kellgren is the latest to announce his intentions, opting to stay local and attend Youngstown State University.

“I’m feeling really excited,” the 6-foot-4, 315-pound lineman said. “Just the opportunity to play for a great team like that in my hometown is just super special.”

YSU has been interested in Kellgren for a while, and it’s one reason he chose to join the Penguins.

“It’s the interest that their coaches have shown me since day one since teams started recruiting me,” Kellgren said. “It’s like I’m not just another guy that they want in their program. I felt like they wanted me for the future of the program and making me feel needed and being part of their plans. It was definitely different from other schools and that was huge for me.”

The expected to be three-year letterwinner was originally approached by the Bo Pelini-led Penguins, but after his departure, new coach Doug Phillips opted to keep Kellgren involved in the team’s plans going forward.

“I got my offer while he (Pelini) was still there,” Kellgren said. “For them to get a whole new coaching staff in and still honor that and everything. That was pretty special for me too. That was cool.”

Local support was an important factor in why Kellgren opted to stay home.

“That was super, super important,” Kellgren said. “That was one of the biggest deciding factors in making this decision, was the opportunity for my parents and friends and family to come and have that same local support that I’ve always had growing up.”

According to Kellgren, that dedication to his home shows up in his play style.

“I offer that hard-nosed traditional Youngstown grit of running the football,” he said. “I’m willing to learn and get better at pass blocking and stuff, but I’m definitely a run first kind of guy and I’m ready to get to work.”

That work is a big reason he has gotten as far as he has according to Poland coach Ryan Williams.

“He puts the time in,” Williams said. “He spends time doing his homework online. He always is willing to do that little bit extra. He watches a lot of film, he asks the right questions. It’s not just what he does on the field. Preparation. He makes a lot of calls for us on the offensive line and a couple of schemes require him to make some adjustments and off the field preparation certainly contributes to his on field performance.”

As a senior, Kellgren has been a part of a successful Poland program that has finished with a winning record in each of his three seasons. One of his biggest assets to the team is his leadership and ability to go in and out of “football mode”.

“He’s a tremendous leader,” Williams said. “He has that quality that offensive linemen need to be able to have to be able to turn it on and off. Off the field, he’s a tremendous young man. He’s very kind and you couldn’t ask more from a teenager or a young man on your team, but then when he puts it on he knows the importance of being physical and playing with a little bit of an attitude and an edge to him. He’s able to separate that and I think that that’s a great quality to have. I’m sure YSU can benefit from having some guys like that around there.”

While excited for the next chapter, Kellgren is still focused on what’s ahead of him with his senior season and the Bulldogs’ push for a state title after getting so close in the 2019 season.

“We’re looking for a state title,” he said. “I know it’s going to look a little bit different. We’re still not exactly 100 percent sure on how the season is going to look, but we’re looking for a state title this year. We’re going to take it one game at a time though.”

Poland’s journey for that state title begins Friday, Aug. 28 at South Range.

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