Decatur High lineman Kyle Kitchens was named to the Associated Press’ all-state second team, voted on by Georgia sportswriters.
Carter Wilson, the school’s Athletics Director, said that Kitchens is Decatur’s first all-state athlete since football/basketball star Corey Moon made football all-state in 2005.
Last month Kitchens, a 6-2½, 215 pound junior, along with seniors Andrew Brown and Terryon Robinson were named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s All-Region 6-AAA squad. Brown, Robinson and identical twins Terez and Perez Cowan were also named to the All-DeKalb County team.
Kitchens was probably the football team’s most improved player with 74 total tackles (56 more than last year), 11 sacks, three fumble recoveries and a touchdown. Towards the end of last season Decatur coach Brad Waggoner described the defensive end/offensive tackle as “a major-college prospect, probably as an outside linebacker.”
In making the all-state announcement Waggoner insisted that Kitchens’ progress doesn’t surprise him one bit.
“When I took this job [last February] and first saw Kyle work out,” he said, “I felt he had the physical talent. What I wasn’t sure about was his mental approach, and that’s where he really improved this season. By the second or third game he had gone into a whole different gear. By late in the season, nobody wanted to run to his side.”
Waggoner added that in the season’s final game against eventual state runner-up St. Pius X, which featured a powerful option attack, “almost every play [was run] away from Kyle. They didn’t get any yards on his side.”
Waggoner still sees Kitchens as an outside linebacker in college, but says he may play all over the place during his senior season at Decatur. “We’ll play him at [defensive] end, at linebacker at [offensive] tackle and even tight end. He runs a 4.6, 4.7 40 [yard dash], and he has plenty of size and he has a great first step. The big thing for Kyle in the offseason is he has to get stronger. He needs to live in the weight room.”
Beginning as a freshman Kitchens has played three sports every year. He’s currently a reserve on the varsity basketball team and he’ll play lacrosse in the spring.
“Kyle is one guy I don’t have to worry about,” Waggoner said. “Matter of fact I don’t have to think about him too much. He gets his work done, he keeps his grades up and he always has a smile on his face.”
Meantime, Waggoner reports that all three of Decatur’s all-star participants had significant moments in their Dec. 22 games.
Playing in the DeKalb County Coaches Association Senior All-Star Game at Hallford Stadium in Clarkston, Terez Cowan caught a 50-yard pass early in the game for the East squad. Late in the game identical twin Perez, playing cornerback, clinched the East victory breaking up a pass.
Terryon Robinson also had a long pass reception (Waggoner couldn’t recall the exact yardage) later in the day playing for the East in the D. L. Scott Coalition Bowl Senior All-Star Game at the Georgia Dome.
Waggoner is confident all three, plus Andrew Brown, will sign college letter of intents next month.
“Part of my job is getting as many of our guys to college as I can,” he said. “Recruiting starts during your sophomore year, and that’s the thing I’ve got to get into the heads of our kids. Then the real important year becomes your junior year – that’s really the year college scouts are looking at. That’s why it’s huge for Kyle making all-state. I’ve already had several schools asking about him.”