Yale quarterback Darin Kehler, who will be starting in only his fourth varsity game when Yale meets Harvard today, is already hoping to make the professional draft.
The baseball draft, that is.
For the first several weeks of the school year, Kehler, who posted a 5-2 record and a 3.53 ERA last spring as a starting pitcher, was participating in the Yale baseball team's fall workouts.
But in late September, he received a phone call from football coach Carm Cozza, who lost his starting quarterback to a knee injury and a back-up to ankle problems.
Cozza asked the sophomore--who played defensive back and second-string quarterback on last year's freshman team, but threw only four passes--to give up baseball for the fall and join the football squad.
And in his first start a month later, Kehler earned Ivy League Sophomore of the Week honors.
"[Kehler's] only concern was whether the team would accept him," Cozza said about Kehler's response to his plea. "I went to the captain and to the rest of the team, and they welcomed him with open arms."
Cozza made no promises about giving Kehler the starting job, but Kehler accepted the offer. "As long as I could just be there [on the sidelines] and fill in a space, that's fine," the Valley View, Pa., native said.
But after playing second fiddle to senior Mark Brubaker in Yale's games against Navy, Army, Columbia, and Penn, Kehler was given the starting job against Dartmouth on October 29.
Since Kehler is more comfortable running an option offense, which is suited for quarterbacks who are good runners, Cozza had to make some changes, since Brubaker worked out of a drop-back, pass-oriented system.
"I'm not a pro-style quarterback," Kehler said. "I'm not afraid to tuck the ball and run with it."
The sophomore responded by leading Yale to a 22-13 victory over the Big Green, earning him league-wide recognition for his talents. Although he threw for only 61 yards, he gained 66 yards on the ground in 16 carries--one of which was for a 36-yd. touchdown run.
"There's a nice coolness about him," Cozza said. "He has quick feet, and he reads things well. Leadership qualities are his greatest strength."
Kehler's weakness, Cozza mentioned, is his size--he's only 5-ft., 9-in., and weighs 175 pounds.
Despite his usefulness to the football team, baseball is the number one sport for Kehler, who was an all-country and all-area pitcher and second baseman in his last two years of high school.
"I have a shot at going into the [baseball] professional draft after my junior year, and I want to concentrate on my skills for the draft."
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