FOOTBALL: Orchard Lake St.Mary’s freshman, Kahlee “K.J.” Hamler, on the fast track with first offer from Toledo
The last time I spoke with Orchard Lake St.Mary’s 2017 athlete, Kahlee "K.J." Hamler, at the Rivals Camp in late April, he reported zero offers, and had minimal college interest. But now he can officially say he’s a Division I football recruit.
Hamler attended Toledo’s one-day camp on Friday night with Reggie Wynn and Rising Stars Recruiting, and walked away with his first offer. A lot of recruits can’t say they received their first offer as a freshman, but Hamler can, and he won’t ever forget it.
"It’s so amazing," he said. "I was so suprised when the head coach told me he was offering me a scholarship. I had a big smile on my face, and I was very proud of myself."
To add some fuel to the fire, Hamler said he had never even spoken to Toledo before they offered him, which makes it even more special. Head coach Matt Campbell was the one who offered Hamler, and he praised him for his performance on the night, before, and added a few words of advice.
"I went into the locker room, and he (Campbell) told me that I was like lightning because of my 40 time," Hamler said. "He thought I was one of the best receivers there, and he thought that I did really good at the camp. He also told me to stay humble, and to keep my grades up."
At 5-foot-8, and only 145-pounds, Hamler is small. But he’s electric with the ball in his hands, at either slot receiver, running back , or as a return man. Last season he had 16 catches for 450 yards and 10 touchdowns, and returned three kicks, and one punt for touchdowns.
Hamler also as exceptional speed for someone his age, running a 4.43-forty yard dash, twice, at the Toledo camp. One thing you can’t teach is speed, and playmaking ability, and Toledo was the first to recognize that.
"I think that was one of the reasons they pulled me, especially for my age," said Hamler. "I ran those times, and they were very surprised."
If Toledo had done its research on Hamler, they wouldn’t have been so surprised at his speed. Last month, Hamler helped St.Mary’s capture the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 meters relay state titles in Division 2. A freshman running track on varsity, and contributing largely, just shows how gifted Hamler is as an overall athlete, and how hard he works in both sports.
"It meant a lot to me because I’m only a freshmen," said Hamler. "Winning state titles in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 is a great achievement for a freshman. Track has helped me get my legs stronger, and it helps your endurance so you can go the same speed for a longer amount of time.
"I just got done with track, but I mostly do leg work outs, or I either run hills, or do some sled work on the field with my dad."
Hamler probably won’t run track in college, but then again who knows. With his speed, his future is bright in either sport, and Toledo was smart for jumping on him first. The Rockets offer could start a snowball effect for other schools to offer Hamler. He should receive larger offers later on down the line, but this first one will go along way with him.
"I hope it means that more offers will come, as long as I keep working hard on and off the field," he said. "I really haven’t been hearing from other schools, but I have interest from Michigan State, Michigan, and Minnesota."