By JASON GORDON
A lot of high school athletes with the chance to play at the next level take three, four or even five official visits to different universities around the country.
It took Caleb Kimbro only one trip.
Kimbro, the all-time leading quarterback in every career statistical category at Hays High, verbally committed to play at the University of New Mexico over the weekend.
Kimbro won’t officially ink his name on the full scholarship New Mexico offered him until National Signing Day on February 6.
“I went to a camp this summer and built a relationship with their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (Bob) DeBesse and I really like coach (Bob) Davie’s resume. It was my one and only official visit but I knew I was in a good place that was the right fit for me. They offered me a full scholarship and I accepted.”
Kimbro said he wanted to be able to come in and compete for playing time right away and he feels he’ll get that chance at New Mexico.
“They said I can come in and compete for the job,” Kimbro said. “That’s all I can ask for is a chance. My goal is to come in and play.”
At Hays, Kimbro had a school record 7,154 total yards and 81 touchdowns in his career. He led the Rebels to consecutive district titles for the first time ever and was named the district’s co-MVP this season.
Along with his older brother Kyle (Navy) and Jamey Whitlock (Rice), Caleb will become only the third Hays quarterback in the school’s 46-year history to sign a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I) scholarship.
Kimbro’s sister Lindie also played basketball at Texas Tech University and his middle brother Ryan played baseball at Temple College.
“I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Kyle said. “I promise you there’s never been anyone I’ve known that has worked harder than Caleb for everything he has. He fought through a lot of injuries, and never worried about his statistics, only about his teammates and winning football games. He’s never taken for granted his God given talent or all things he’s been blessed with. He’s lived a faith-based life and that will serve him well in college. That’s the thing I’m most proud of.”
Hays head football coach Blake Feldt said he was ecstatic when he heard the news Kimbro accepted New Mexico’s offer.
“I’ve coached a lot of great quarterbacks that could do different things well in my career, but Caleb is at the top of that list,” Feldt said. “He fit what we do in our system at Hays perfectly. I think he’ll do the same things at New Mexico because the football’s in the quarterback’s hands a lot there and they need someone who can run and pass with equal efficiency like Caleb can. I think Caleb will be a wonderful college quarterback.”
Davie was the former head coach at Notre Dame from 1997-2001 and was previously the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M from 1994-96. This was his first season at New Mexico, where the Lobos went 4-9 this year. New Mexico only won one game in 2011.
One program at New Mexico that certainly isn’t in a rebuilding phase is the men’s basketball team. Kimbro got to watch the No. 18-ranked and undefeated Lobos beat Valparaiso 65-52 Saturday night in front of more than 15,000 frenzied fans in “The Pit,” the school’s famous basketball gym.
“I really liked the atmosphere around the campus and I think the football team has a chance to go places,” Kimbro said. “I want to be a part of building this football program into a winner. I think that’s exactly what we have a chance to do.”