HAVRE -- It’s been an unusual offseason for prospective college athletes as they navigate the recruiting world in the midst of a pandemic.
Instead of junior days and campus visits, Havre’s Kellen Detrick has spent most of his time communicating with coaches on the phone or computer.
“Yeah, it was pretty hectic. I mean, it kind of sucks because you couldn't go on any trips or do any of that,” Detrick said, “because the dead period was extended. But it was a lot of virtual stuff, a lot of FaceTime.”
But Detrick made it through the weeds of spring and summer, and the rising senior - ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the state according to 247Sports - committed to the Montana Grizzlies this week after weighing several Division I schools, including offers from Montana State, Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona.
“I’ve kind of always wanted to be a Griz,” Detrick said. “I went to my first Griz game when I was little and can still remember every second of it. Their fan base is great and the tradition is unmatched. I can’t thank the coaches enough for the opportunity to play there.”
Detrick (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) was an all-state defensive end, and all-conference tight end as a junior for the Blue Ponies. He credits his dad, Kino, a former lineman at MSU-Northern, with helping him get to a position where a Division I offer was possible.
“He's my hero, he's my mentor,” Kellen said. “And he means everything to me and I can't thank him enough for everything he's done for me over my life. He's sacrificed everything.”
But in truth - the entire town of Havre is behind Kellen, including Marc Mariani, a former Blue Pony-turned-Grizzly who went on to a Pro Bowl career in the NFL.
Mariani tweeted his congratulations to Detrick on Monday night.
“I got to wake up to that and I got kind of star struck coming from a guy like that,” Detrick said. “If I can have half the success Marc had at U of M, I'll be extremely blessed.”
But first, he has one more year at Havre High - and that’s not something he takes for granted.
“I can just focus on working harder and becoming the best me that I can be,” Detrick said. “Just knowing that I’m going to be able to play football for my senior year, because that's extremely important to me.”
High school football practices begin Aug. 14, statewide. Per MHSA guidelines, players will practice in "pods" or "bubbles" to avoid exposure to the novel coronavirus.