DESOTO, Texas - The tight end group at this past weekend's Rivals Underclassmen Challenge was very small but incredibly talented. Every player at the position already holds at least one offer.
One of the tight ends in attendance was Kyle Penniston of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. The fact that he already holds an offer is incredibly surprising because he is only headed into his sophomore year and has not even started a varsity game yet. That did not stop Florida State from being the first to offer the 6-foot-5, 220-pound standout though.
"I was on varsity last year for Orange Lutheran but I recently transferred," Penniston said. "[Florida State] got my film from last year - I'm really not sure how - but they liked what they saw. I played behind (class of 2012 Seminole tight end signee) Christo Kourtzidis so I guess they saw me from watching him and they liked me. They came out in the spring and they offered me which was kind of cool."
Penniston appreciated the early offer but he feels he now must show he is worthy of it.
"I was really excited when it came but I feel I really have to prove I deserve it," he said. "Not many people get offered this early so that's something special but I still need to earn it for sure.
"It's something that I'm proud of and I'd like to think I'll get more and more as the years go on but I've got to go out and show I'm worthy of it."
Being one of the only class of 2015 prospects in the country to already have an offer, Penniston knows he will receive extra attention from opposing teams this year. However, he is looking forward to it.
"I think I'll have a bit of a target on me," he said. "I think it's good for me though. It gives me something to overcome and presents a challenge. They might be double-covering me and things like that so it'll just make me work that much harder."
It is much too early for the rising sophomore to name favorites but he did have a chance to take in a handful of other schools this offseason.
"I went to camps at Washington, Oregon, UCLA and Wisconsin," Penniston said. "They were all good. I got to meet coach (Bret) Bielema at Wisconsin and I got to talk with the tight ends coach at Oregon. It's good to have connections now."