Tuesday, September 24, 2013

THROWBACK TUESDAY: BEFORE HE WAS KNOWN AS JUST 'KENNY!'

Kenny Guiton in 2010
(TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
The story/interview below was conducted by Joshua Stueve (a contributor for The Buckeye Times) back in June 2010. 

In this piece, Stueve sits down with then red-shirt freshman quarterback Kenny Guiton and discusses many different topics — ranging from his high school recruiting adventures, to backing up then-Buckeye starter Terrelle Pryor, to the possibility of remaining a reserve when prep star Braxton Miller arrives on the scene from Huber Heights Wayne High School. He also states how he would like to be remembered by Buckeye fans once his career in Columbus comes to an end.

In the past few weeks, Guiton has become a household name in the college football world, throwing for 10 touchdowns in his two starts, including a school-record six scoring tosses last week against Florida A&M.

The reason I wanted to pull this piece out of the archives is because it gives us all an introduction to Guiton, some three years prior to him being known by Buckeye Nation as strictly ... Kenny!

By Joshua Stueve
The Buckeye Times
June 24, 2010
COLUMBUS — Two years ago when Ohio State completed their recruiting class by signing a skinny quarterback from Eisenhower High School in Houston, Texas, casual and die-hard Buckeye fans alike seemed to ask the same question: Who is Kenny Guiton?

Today most OSU fans could probably tell you that Guiton is a backup quarterback to Heisman Trophy hopeful Terrelle Pryor. They might even be able to add that he wears No.13 and had a very impressive spring game, rallying his team in the fourth quarter and throwing the game-winning touchdown pass.

But the question that perplexed the Buckeye faithful two years ago still remains: Who is Kenny Guiton?

I sat down with Guiton recently at a local eatery in the shadow of Ohio Stadium.

Guiton, clad head to toe in scarlet and gray, turned a few heads when he walked in and sat down. His smile is bright and his eyes lock onto yours as he speaks or listens.

The kid is absolutely impressive; As an athlete, as a student, and most importantly as a young man. He is well spoken, eternally optimistic, and ferociously competitive. Just the kind of guy you want on your side.

(Below is the complete transcript of the Guiton interview)

Kenny Guiton in 2013 (AP)
The Buckeye Times' Joshua Stueve: First of all, how does a kid from the heart of Texas end up at Ohio State? You had to be a Texas fan growing up, right?
Guiton: [Smiles] Definitely. I loved Vince Young as a kid, so I was always a Texas fan. But, Ohio State offered me a great opportunity and I’m so happy things have worked out the way they have.

Stueve: Word on the street is you were a pretty good basketball player in high school. How did you decide on football over basketball?
Guiton: I love basketball and played on my high school team at Eisenhower. I was a point guard and had a lot of fun with it, but somehow I just knew that football was going to help me make it. My Dad was the football coach at my high school, so I grew up being the ball boy for my high school team and have been around football all of my life. I started out as a receiver playing flag-football and my first year of tackle I was a center, a defensive tackle and a defensive end. I ended up switching leagues the next year and I’ve been playing quarterback ever since.

Stueve: Any particular games you played as a kid stick out in your mind?
Guiton: [Scratches his head] I remember when I was a kid playing for the Raiders. The year before the team wasn’t very good, but my first season with them we went to the Super Bowl. We were on the 47 yard line and the coach called a quarterback sweep. I got the snap, started running to the edge and a corner comes up. I shake him and I’m gone down the sideline. I think I’m gone and I’m going to score. Then the same corner I shook catches me from behind at the 3 yard line. We lost that game 6-0.

Stueve: Did you slow up?
Guiton: I didn’t slow up. The kid was just real fast. Matter of fact I knew him all through high school and played against him. He was real fast. I still have that on video to this day. The next two years we won the Super Bowl, so that kind of made up for it.

Stueve: When did you take over the starting quarterback job at Eisenhower?
Guiton: It was the fifth game into my sophomore year. We were playing Andrew Luck’s team, the quarterback for Stanford. Our starter got hurt on the second play. It was a big rivalry game and even though we lost by a touchdown, I had a decent game. I started for the rest of that season and for the next two years.

Stueve: How did you do during your junior and senior seasons?
Guiton: My junior year was my best. Our team had a lot fun. I led us to the playoffs and we lost to Russell Shepard’s team, the quarterback for LSU. We lost to them in the second round of the playoffs at the 1 yard line. That was a heartbreaker. The next year we had another good season and lost in the second round again.

Stueve: When did the recruiting process start for you?
Guiton: I don’t remember exactly when I got my first letter, but my first offer came the spring of my junior year from Kansas. After I got it I called the coach and set up an unofficial visit. I went up for their spring game and loved it. The game got snowed out but they showed us around campus and everything. I loved it up there.

Stueve: Kansas had a pretty good run going at that time, didn’t they?
Guiton: Yeah, they did. They had a real good run. Todd Reesing was at quarterback and they were running that big spread offense, which was the same offense I ran in high school. I thought I matched up with them well.

Stueve: As a football coach, how did your Dad feel about Kansas?
Guiton: He liked it a lot. But he always told me that it was my decision about what college to go to. He left it up to me, but he made sure he was with me on all of my visits to make sure everything was right for me.

Stueve: How did your parents feel about you not playing close to home?
Guiton: They didn’t mind it. They just wanted to make sure that I was happy with my decision. When my Mom dropped me off here in Columbus she cried, but that was about the only time it was hard. My Mom and I are very close. We talk everyday and whenever I go home I spend a lot of time with my Mom and my Dad.

Stueve: Was there a time when you were close to committing?
Guiton: Yeah. As a matter of fact I was very close to committing to Kansas and after a while the head coach told me other people had committed and they were out of scholarships. So then I got a little deeper into the process and got to Rice University, and I tried to set up official there. But, at the last minute they had a transfer come in and they gave the scholarship to him. Next I went to Iowa State for an official and I loved it up there. But I didn’t commit.

Stueve: Why not? You like the program, the coaches, and the academics. Why wait?
Guiton: To tell you the truth, at the time when my offers were coming, they were coming a lot at once. I think overall I ended up with like nine offers or something like that. Five of them came like back to back, so I didn’t know who else was going to offer. Some time passed and no one else offered and some of the offers I did have were gone, like Kansas and Rice. So here I was at the end of the recruiting process and I’m just trying to get into any college. Basically, I waited too long. When Ohio State came in I was actually talking to Prairie View A&M.

Stueve: Really?
Guiton: [smiles] Yeah. I was talking to them, also to Houston to be an athlete, and to Wyoming. And at the time it was actually looking like I was going to commit to Prairie View. The coaches were nice and it was about 45 minutes away from home. So I could drive back and forth to practice and class, which was a big positive for me. And I was going to get a chance to come in and compete right away.

Stueve: How did you feel at that moment in your recruitment? Did you feel like you missed out on some good opportunities because you waited too long?
Guiton: Oh yeah, for sure. I felt like I missed out because my initial love was Kansas. They were my first offer and you always love your first offer. I was in love with Kansas. Matter of fact one of my receivers at Eisenhower went on an official the weekend after I did. He ended up at Oklahoma, but I think if I would have committed there he might have too. But, it didn’t work out that way. God had other plans for us.

Stueve: So you’re close to committing to Prairie View A&M. It’s close to home and looks good. How does Ohio State come into the picture? Was there any previous contact at all?
Guiton: I had no previous contact at all with Ohio State. Matter of fact, the day they came to my school I was sick. Coach (John) Peterson was there and my receiver Greg Timmons, who is now at Texas, called me and said Ohio State is here to see you. You know we joke around a lot, so I’m like, ‘Man why you calling me with this mess? You know I’m sick.’ So I hung up on him [laughs]. But he called me right back and said they were really there to see me. So I hurried up and got dressed. I lived like 15 minutes from the school but I think I got there in like 5 minutes. I was real excited.

Stueve: How did the conversation go with Coach Peterson?
Guiton: He was real straight up with me. He said they had some guys commit elsewhere and that they had my film along with two other guys. He said Coach (Jim) Tressel was going to watch film that night and they were going to make a decision about an offer soon. I just didn’t know the offer would come the next day.

Stueve: It came the next day?
Guiton: Yeah. Coach Peterson called me and let me know they were offering, then Coach Tressel called me that night. That Saturday I went on a visit to Ohio State and I committed in Coach Tressel’s office before I left.

Stueve: Did knowing that Terrelle Pryor was entrenched as the starter as a freshmen factor into your decision, as far as playing time goes?
Guiton: It did. But I believe if you come in everyday and work hard, study hard, and take care of what you’re supposed to, everything will work out. Besides, I love competition. It only makes you better.

Stueve: You redshirted last year and ran the scout team. What was that like?
Guiton: I loved it, to be honest. I got to go against our first and second team defense everyday in practice, so I benefited from that. I got to act like Jeremiah Masoli from Oregon before the Rose Bowl. Give the defense looks they were likely to see in the game.

Stueve: With a year in the program under your belt, you are currently in a fight for the second string quarterback job. The seniors drafted you ahead of teammate Joe Bauserman during the spring game draft. What did you think about that?
Guiton: I was happy that they had trust in me that I could win the game. I try not to worry about stuff like who is number two and who is number three. I just go out and play hard and try to do the right thing.

Stueve: You had a fantastic spring game, and your stats were much better than the other players you are competing with for the second string spot. But if there were a game tomorrow, and Pryor gets hurt, I keep hearing that Bauserman is the guy. How does that make you feel?
Guiton: It’s a little frustrating. But all I can do is give everything I’ve got every time I get on the field. I’ve been working hard in the film room, and really focusing on my conditioning in the weight room. When I got here I was 170 lbs, and now I am up to 190 lbs. I just keep working hard, and the other stuff will work out.

Stueve: Speaking of playing time, you are now two classes behind Pryor who is clearly the starter. So that opens up some room. But, Ohio State has also recently received a verbal commitment from one of the top high school quarterbacks in the nation (Braxton Miller). Have you thought about your playing time and would you ever consider transferring?
Guiton: I have no plans to transfer. I believe in myself and my abilities, and like I said before, if I come in and do what I know I can do, I’ll be right in the mix for playing time. So, I try not to think negatively about things like that. I can’t control what anyone else does, I can only control myself.

— At the end of each interview The Buckeye Times asks ten questions which require a quick response, asking the player to say the first thing that comes to their mind. The following are Kenny Guiton's answers:
1. Who was your childhood sports idol? Vince Young
2. One word that describes Ohio State is ... Terrific
3. One word that describes Ohio State football fans is ... Fanatics
4. Who is the funniest guy on the team? Soloman Thomas
5. Who is the scariest guy on the team? Devon Torrence
6. Who is the fastest guy on the team? Terrelle Pryor or James Jackson
7. Who is the slowest guy on the team? Maybe me
8. Who does the best impersonation of a coach? Orhian Johnson
9. Who has a weird talent and what is it? James Hastings can beatbox
10. When I leave Ohio State I want to be remembered as ... A Heisman Trophy winner and fan favorite.