REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – A tall, strong-armed quarterback with lots of ability, Kelly Hilinski recently saw his talent validated with an offer from a program that knows a thing or two about talented quarterbacks. However, since that offer came, things have gotten a little bit complicated.
The offer was from Arkansas and it was the first offer he landed.
“That was probably a month ago,” Hilinski said. “A lot of guys usually get their offers from smaller schools first and for that to be my first offer felt great. In light of everything that’s happening, they’re still a great school and the first school to offer me so I feel good.”
Hilinski had planned on visiting Arkansas on Saturday but he received a call from former head coach Bobby Petrino last week that changed that plan.
“I was at Colorado on Thursday,” he said. “I was supposed to fly into Arkansas on Friday and spend the whole day there and go to their spring game. But Coach Petrino called me and told me he got fired. He said ‘I’m sorry, but I’m going to be let go but Arkansas is still a great place, don’t let that fool you.”
While the termination of Bobby Petrino has put a wrinkle in Hilinski’s plans, he still thinks highly of the program and as long as Paul Petrino is around has confidence in the offense.
“They finished in the top 5 last year so they’re going to be great for the future and Coach Petrino is there at least for next year.”
While an Arkansas offer has offered validation of his athletic ability, Hilinski also has seen his intellect validated as well, earning his other two offers from Harvard and Yale. Even with an SEC offer to contend with, he still is taking a hard look at the Ivy League programs.
“Obviously the football opportunities are much great at a D-1 school but for me and my parents, we’ve always said that academics are first and I definitely believe in that. Harvard and Yale, there’s nothing better than that. The way Harvard is winning championships and so is Yale, it’s definitely a possibility and not a backup plan at all. I’m definitely very interested.”
Hilinski has an uncle that played football at Harvard and he’s been encouraged by the success of former Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the NFL. That being said, plenty of schools look poised to offer this spring to add to his decision process.
Colorado, Duke, Utah, Oregon State and Washington State are among the programs that have expressed an interest in the 6-6, 210 pounder and this spring should be big for his recruitment.