It was back in the summer of 2012 that I unexpectedly shared a ride on a plane to Chicago with Massillon quarterback Kyle Kempt. Of course, we talked some Tiger football, but he was mostly excited about spending time with former Tiger player George Whitfield, Jr. at his Quarterback Academy in San Diego. George must have done some good because Kyle is now one of the most recognizable college football players in the country.
Kyle Kempt, Massillon’s record-setting quarterback, has found a home at Iowa State. Since taking over the starting quarterback position for the Cyclones, Kempt has led his team to upsets over Oklahoma and Texas Christian, both ranked in the Top 5 at the time, and won four games in five starts. Following the Oklahoma game, his cinderella story exploded across the national sports networks. Perhaps Kyle’s next stop may just be mayor of Ames.
Kempt played for the Tigers in 2010 through 2012 and holds several passing records, including the following:
- Career passing yards (6,034)
- Single-season passing efficiency (183.7)
- Single-season average yards per pass (10.5)
- Single-season passing yards per game (235.1)
In 2012, Kyle’s senior year, his team finished 11-2 and advanced to the regional finals. During the season, he recorded two victories over Canton McKinley and a win over eventual Division 3 state champion Akron St. Vincent. He also completed 194 of 292 passes for 3,056 yards and 32 touchdowns and on five occasions he eclipsed 300 yards, while passing for over 200 on four others. And his team averaged over 41 points a game. For his effort Kempt was named 2nd Team All-Ohio.
Following Massillon, Kyle made made his way to Oregon State and then to Hutchinson Community trying to find a home. But neither worked out. Eventually he was accepted at Iowa State as a non-scholarship walk-on. ISU head coach Matt Campbell, a former Massillon resident and Perry High School player, had recruited Kempt unsuccessfully while at Toledo, but now the two were finally united. After a year with the scout team, circumstances thrust Kempt into the starting role against Oklahoma in Game 5 and we all know how that went. Here are his stats for the five starts:
- Oklahoma – Won 38-31. 18 of 24 for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns.
- Kansas – Won 45-0. 13 of 20 for 122 yards and 1 touchdown.
- Texas Tech – Won 30-13. 22 of 32 for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns.
- Texas Christian – Won 14-7. 21 of 35 for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns.
- West Virginia – Lost 20-16. 27 of 40 for 249 yards and 1 touchdown.
- Total – 101 of 141 (72%) for 1,108 yards and 9 touchdowns.
With three games remaining, the Iowa State Cyclones are already bowl eligible and on the way to their best season in many years. Much of this has to do with Kyle Kempt’s steady and outstanding performance. Of course, let’s not forget Head Coach Matt Campbell. Best of luck to Massillon’s own, Kyle Kempt and Matt Campbell.