Kyle Curtis stands at around 6'2" and 220 lbs. A kind smile, to meet him is to feel familiar with him. This is his last (and best) Camp Higher Ground experience, his senior season.
Out of Westerville South High School, he played defensive end and special teams. One summer camp at Ohio State, he recorded a 40 yard dash time of 4.75 seconds. His 60 yard dash time was clocked at 7.2 seconds. If those numbers seem unremarkable, they should. Kyle is a long snapper for the Bearcats. His top-end speed and shuttle time are less important than his accuracy when snapping the football to placeholders and punters.
If UC's players were lined up signing autographs, fans might not make a bee line for Kyle. After all, he doesn't carry the ball or score touchdowns. But if you met him and spent any time with him, you'd want to hire him to work for your company. And you'd want your kids to hang out with him.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, then, by his response when I asked about his favorite coach. Kyle responded simply – my dad. It turns out Jim Curtis coached Kyle in baseball, basketball, and football, and, according to Kyle, was an all-around great dad.
College football is a beautiful game to watch, a poetry of motion, athleticism, and violent collisions. But it's more than a sport. College football serves as a proxy for teaching life skills and discipline. The game can take great kids like Kyle, and make them even better by requiring them to persevere, manage crazy work loads, and place the good of team above their individual needs.
Like plenty on UC's team, Kyle Curtis is unlikely to hear his name called by Roger Goodell after his senior campaign. Each year, the program receives signed commitments from a little over 20 players during the recruiting cycle. Many, if not most, arrive in Clifton with NFL dreams. Yet there are only 20 former Bearcats on rosters in the entire league. Brent Celek is the elder UC stateman in the NFL, having graduated in 2007. On average then, that's around two players each year that make it to the next level.
For a student-athlete like Kyle, those odds are just fine. He's here for the team. He's here for the college football experience. He's delighted to just be a Bearcat.
By Brian Fox