Shrine Bowl pick Caleb Kinlaw ready for next level
Goose Creek running back Caleb Kinlaw hasn't even played a down of college football. But he already knows playing at the next level will create some family feuds in a lighthearted way.
What: Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: Gibbs Stadium, Spartanburg
What: Top 44 seniors in South Carolina vs. North Carolina
Tickets: $20 at the gate
TV: ESPNU (Tape delayed)
Like his brother, Rodney, and his cousin, Courtney Brown, Caleb has decided to play in the Big Ten. He originally committed to play for Georgia Tech but later switched allegiance to Wisconsin. Rodney and cousin Courtney both played at Penn State, and that's where the family feud came into play.
Rodney Kinlaw rushed for more than 1,000 yards his senior season at Penn State in 2007. Courtney Brown, a defensive end, was the first pick of the 2000 NFL draft.
Shortly after Kinlaw committed to play for the Badgers, Wisconsin went up against Penn State and the Nittany Lions pulled off the shocking upset.
"They let me know about it. We talk about it, kid each other all the time. I had to hear them mouthing off after Penn State beat Wisconsin." said Kinlaw, one of the top running backs to play at Goose Creek High School and a selection for Saturday's 77th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.
The Shrine Bowl will be played at 1 p.m. at Gibbs Stadium on the campus of Wofford in Spartanburg.
Kinlaw ultimately decided on Wisconsin because of the pedigree of running backs that come out of Madison, Wis.
Wisconsin has sent nine running backs to the NFL in the last 25 years, including Ron Dayne, who won the Heisman in 1999. The list of Badgers running backs who made it to the NFL also includes Michael Bennett, Brian Calhoun, P.J. Hill and John Clay. This season, Wisconsin has two running backs, Melvin Gordon and James White, who have each rushed for more than 1,300 yards.
"The thing about Wisconsin is they like to run the football," Kinlaw said. "Playing tailback at Wisconsin is the first step in getting your foot through the door. I think it will help me get to the NFL. Georgia Tech was good academically, but Wisconsin is known as a running back university. In the past 20 years, they've had a running back rush for 1,000 yards just about every year."
Kinlaw is one of the top backs in the Southeast and is ranked No. 89 in the nation by Scout. He has three 1,000-yard seasons at Goose Creek. Kinlaw originally committed to the Yellow Jackets before the season began, but visited Wisconsin in early November and committed on Nov. 14.
At 5-10 and 187 pounds, Kinlaw isn't big for a Badgers back. Dayne weighed 250 pounds back in the day, and Clay was at 240 before losing weight his senior year. Kinlaw is one of two running backs who have committed to the Badgers. The other is 225-pound Taiwan Deal of Dematha High in Hyattsville, Md.
"I think they are trying to be versatile at tailback," Kinlaw said. "They have the power backs and the scatbacks. I am a scatback."
Caleb Kinlaw admitted the Big Ten is down, but he expects it to become formidable.
"Every conference has its ups and downs," Kinlaw said. "And, every team has its ups and downs. Just look at Auburn. They were awful last year and are playing for a national championship this year. Things can change."