Junior tight end Kelvin Rainey has had a front row seat to the growth of the Yulee (Fla.) football team. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound tight end was a key part of the Hornets' attack against Bolles on Friday night, a game where his team fell short 56-27. Despite the loss, he sees progress for him and his teammates.
"Every year we are getting better and better," Rainey said. "We are focused on getting a championship. It was a good game because we see where we stand now and what we have to work on. We won't go backwards, we will go forward. There is definitely more room for improvement, we definitely see that."
As a junior, Rainey has done a little bit of everything on both sides of the ball for his club.
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"My junior season is going pretty well, wherever they move me to," Rainey said. "I have been moved around a lot from special teams to defense as a linebacker, defensive end, safety a little bit, I have been a running back, fullback, tight end, wide receiver on offense. Whenever they try to ask me to do something, I just try to do my best at it, executing that play. With all the positions I do play, they have to do with speed, hands, and quickness. When I play outside linebacker, it helps me understand better how to take a hit from a linebacker when I am on offense. On offense, it teaches me how to get open from a linebacker. So it is actually a pretty good thing to do."
As for recruiting, the talented athlete already holds nearly double-digit offers with more schools showing interest.
"I have Florida, FSU, USF, FIU, South Carolina, Georgia, and LSU," Rainey said. "Alabama is stepping in a little bit. Ole Miss has been stepping in a little bit. Vanderbilt is stepping in there a little bit. I don't think there is one school I haven't gotten a letter from."
Earlier in October, he made his way to South Florida for the game between the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles. He talked about what he saw from each team in that game.
"I am not going to sugarcoat it, I was not impressed," Rainey said of Miami. "I was really not impressed. (Miami) didn't spread the ball around. (Quarterback) Jacory (Harris) was hesitating. They had all these receivers, (Leonard) Hankerson and guys like that, and they weren't spreading the ball around. I just didn't think they spread the ball around real well. They got down as soon as one person scored, they didn't go forward, they went backwards.
"Florida State was pretty good," Rainey added. "They didn't use their tight ends like I would have liked to have seen them do. Other than that, I was pretty impressed. (Running back Chris) Thompson had a really good game. They played well. It is something I would like to see again."
While the in-state programs have caught Rainey's attention, it is an out-of-state school and one of their offensive playmakers that has him thinking a lot about taking his skills outside the Sunshine State for his collegiate career.
"South Carolina does exactly what I like," Rainey said. "They have that standout receiver, that target, that wideout (Alshon Jeffrey) that they can go to at any time and take a chance. He is really good. FSU uses their tight ends like I like. Every school that I like right now just passes the ball around. Florida really needs a key receiver right about now, they seem to be missing that type of guy, and so is Miami, they don't seem to have an outstanding tight end they can go to on every play."
At this point, the Gamecocks lead for his services. He broke down the top schools in the running at this time.
"I have it kind of in order," Rainey said. "I have South Carolina first, FSU next, Florida third, Alabama fourth, and USF last. All of them have offered but Alabama. Alabama has been showing a lot of interest, I have been receiving mail from them about every week."
Despite having another year of high school football ahead of him, Rainey is considering getting the decision out of the way sooner rather than later.
"I am actually trying to get ready to go ahead and commit, to go ahead and get that out of the way," Rainey said. "I am going to try to do it after the football season."