It has been an up-and-down ride at Canton (Texas) High School for G.J. Kinne, one of the state's best quarterbacks for the class of 2007. When his father, Gary Joe Kinne, was the head coach there, he suffered a near fatal gunshot wound. That day never left the mind of the young man and he decided to make a change for the better this week.
The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Kinne says that since the day of the shooting, he stopped feeling safe at Canton where he had enjoyed plenty of success on the football field. That had him looking around and this week moving into Gilmer High School where he looks to continue just as before.
"Yeah, I'm at Gilmer now and today was actually my first day," Kinne said. "It was really nice. There is definitely a lot going on with their offense and I'm just trying to learn everything. I did a hurdle workout today and hung out with Curtis Brown who I've known for a while."
Moving for athletic purposes is something that is usually associated with moves like this that involve one of the state's top players. A change for those reasons is against the rules in the state of Texas and would make a player ineligible for varsity athletics.
However, Kinne and his family stress that it came down to safety, not an attempt at winning more ball games.
"Honestly, it's just because I didn't feel safe at Canton," Kinne said. "At Gilmer, it felt like a safe situation for me and I just showed up there. I didn't really know that many people at Gilmer or really the coach that well, even though people said I did. I just wanted to go where I could be safe finishing my senior year."
Talented players such as Brown, Dominique Buchanan, Jamell Kennedy, along with sophomores Justin Johnson and David Snow will surround Kinne as he battles his way for the starting position.
Even though he was going to be the top signal caller at Canton, Kinne knows he'll have to earn the job at Gilmer from scratch.
"I guess you have to compete everywhere, so I don't know about playing time," he said. "I'm open to starting from anywhere. I'll just go out, do what I do, and see what happens from there."
Kinne also added that though people are excited to see the very talented Gilmer team, the former Canton leader says he had just as many talented members at his old school.
"The players were good at Canton too, so it's not like I'm trying to move up or anything," Kinne said. "At the same time, with the guys we've got at Gilmer, I think anything less than state would be a down year.
"Now that this is done, it definitely has relieved a lot of the pressure."
Kinne says that his written offers remain the same. This weekend could be the turning point for another.
"Yeah I'm headed out to Southern Cal this weekend for a visit," Kinne said. "Coach Norton has been wanting to get me out there, so I'm hoping that it turns into something. I've got a verbal offer, but you can never be sure about that."
Kinne's father is now the linebackers' coach at Baylor.