TYRONE, Ga. – When wide receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) was in eighth grade, he went out to San Antonio to take part in the Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound standout came back star struck after watching a young quarterback take home MVP honors at the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Four-star wideout Demarre Kitt was honored as a U.S. Army All-American Monday.
“I came back wanting to earn a chance to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and I hoped someday someone looks up to me like I looked up to Tajh,” Kitt said. “It is such a great feeling to follow in their footsteps and I can only hope to have some of the same success they are enjoying right now.”
On Monday, Kitt was presented with his very own U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jersey, part of the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Tour, presented by adidas. The game, featuring 90 of the best high school players in the country, will be played Jan. 4 2014 at noon CST, live on NBC.
“It is a big deal to me because only a select few in the country are invited, so I am excited to represent the Army in such a prestigious game,” Kitt said. “This honor is made even more special to me, since this ceremony happened on Veterans Day.”
Sandy Creek has produced dozens of FBS signees over the last 15 years, including standouts like Kedric Golston, Rajion Neal, JaQuay Williams, Isaiah Johnson and Shaq Wiggins. The biggest shadow cast over the successful program is that of NFL All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson. Kitt has had high expectations on him since arriving on campus his freshman year, when he leaned on a few older standouts for guidance.
“I was thrown in really early, but I was surrounded by high class guys like Alex Chisum, Mike Hilton and Bruce Dukes, who guided me and helped me to buy into the program here and to let everything else take care of itself,” Kitt said.
After reeling in 42 balls for 651 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore, Kitt got news that helped him understand he had potential to make an impact at the college level.
“I got the offer from Georgia the January after my sophomore season and that is when I realized football was going to take me somewhere,” Kitt said. “But I committed there too early without exploring my options, so after taking visits and sitting down to think it over, I realized that Clemson was the place I wanted to go to the entire time and that was the best place for me.”
Kitt committed to Clemson in May, a decision Sandy Creek head coach Chip Walker says based on the Tigers’ coaching staff staying on the four-star wideout from the start.
Kitt is one of several Clemson commits to take advantage of a new NCAA interpretation.
“Clemson has been here the whole time,” Walker said. “Recruiting has changed with the internet and social media, but it still goes back to building relationships. Coach Chad Morris and Coach Jeff Scott did an outstanding job building that trust with Demarre and then obviously Coach Dabo Swinney was able to come in and close the deal by making a great impression on Demarre and his family.
As a junior, Kitt caught 68 passes for 1151 yards and 11 touchdowns. On a team that has run twice as many run plays as passes attempted, Kitt has 45 catches for 744 yards and six touchdowns this season. Walker feels Kitt will continue that type of production at the next level.
“He has been a great asset to our program,’ Walker said. “He came in and played a lot as a freshman and over the last four years has really become one of the best wideouts we have ever had. I think he will be able to go to Clemson and compete for early playing time.”
He is very polished and he can do a little bit of everything, which I think separates him from others. He is a great route runner with the top end speed to be successful, he is great with the ball in his hands after the catch, he is a solid blocker and he is very good in the kick return game as well so he can do a little bit of everything and that will allow him to make an immediate impact.”
Kitt, along with Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville), the No. 1 rated dual-threat quarterback in the country according to 247Sports, and Top247 wideout Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), took advantage of a new NCAA rules interpretation and signed financial paperwork with the intent to enroll early.
Walker feels this new avenue is a huge advantage for both the prospective student athlete, the college and high school programs as well.
“That is a no-brainer for kids,” Walker said. “They get locked in….and if there was a coaching change, they could still go explore something else. The school gets to publicize and communicate with them. If you are a wideout and you get a quarterback like Deshaun Watson to sign, you know who is going to be throwing you the ball the next four years and that is huge. You can then go recruit offensive linemen and receivers.”
For me, it allows the colleges to take over with communication and I can not only focus on my team, but to also help other seniors that need help or with juniors, because we know how sped up the process is now.”
Kitt first met Watson after his Gainesville squad knocked out Sandy Creek in the quarterfinals of his sophomore season. Watson committed to Clemson two months later, and immediately started to go to work on Kitt. Now the two will arrive on campus at Clemson in two months.
“With Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant all likely leaving, we have to come in and learn the playbook so we can contribute and do well our first year,” Kitt said. “I feel like with those two, and guys like Adam Choice and Milan Richard, we are going to continue to take this offense to another level.”