After receiving more than a dozen offers from Division I programs, Demetrius Kemp verbally committed to Southern Miss over the weekend.
“I like the coaching staff. I mean Coach [Todd] Monken, Coach [John Wozniak] and Coach [Andrew] Thacker, they’re all real nice guys. I talked to at least one of those three guys just about every day,” Kemp, a Demopolis High senior safety and receiver, said of his developing relationship with the coaching staff at the Hattiesburg, Miss. school.
Kemp said the Southern Miss coaching staff gave him the option of playing either offense or defense, a difficult decision made easier by the temptation to take part in the Golden Eagles’ wide open attack.
“They said it was up to me whether I play offense or defense,” Kemp said. “But I think I’ll play slot receiver and get a chance to run in that passing offense they have.”
“I think it is a great fit for him,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey said. “I think it is one of the up-and-coming programs. I think Coach Monken and his staff are there for the long haul and I think his ability fits what they want to do really well.”
Kemp has seen marked improvement over the course of his high school career, stepping into his own as a junior. The 2012 campaign saw him score eight total touchdowns in five different ways as he starred on offense, defense and special teams for the Tigers.
“He has always been a good athlete,” Causey said. “He has worked hard at fine tuning his skills. He has stepped up as an individual and has steeped into that leadership role.”
“It’s a great opportunity,” Kemp said of the offer. “I know it is a rare opportunity for a lot of kids, so I feel like I’m very blessed. I cherish it.”
Kemp becomes the third member of the Demopolis senior class to commit to a Division I program, joining Cortez Lewis and Tyler Merriweather in that category. Lewis committed to Northern Illinois last week while Merriweather committed to Georgia Tech earlier this summer.
“I think it has a lot to do with genetics and their parents and who they are and where they’re from,” Causey said of the opportunities available to his trio of standouts. “We’re proud. Don’t get me wrong. But we can’t take credit for that. That comes out of their houses that they grew up in and the youth league coaches and middle school coaches, all the way up to us. We’re really excited for the kids and our school and our town.”
Causey also pointed to the academic prowess of the trio of seniors as a significant factor in the collegiate opportunities that have been extended to them.
“Demetrius is an honor student. He is a guy that is in the National Science Honor Society, he and Tyler Merriweather both,” Causey said. “They’re all three carrying over a 3.0 in their core classes and the ACT was a qualifying score the first time they took it.”
Kemp had offers from Georgia Tech and Middle Tennessee among others.