By Joe Scalzo
Zak Kennedy is another one-and-done college athlete — at least when it comes to recruiting.
The Cardinal Mooney senior-to-be verbally committed to Youngstown State’s football team after earning a full scholarship offer at the team’s kicking camp.
YSU was his first, and last, choice.
“I’ve always loved Youngstown State, ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “Watching the team play, going to camps — it just seemed like a great fit.
“When it came down to it, I really wanted to stay at home and play in front of my hometown.”
Kennedy made 13 of 15 field goals with a long of 42 yards last season for the Cardinals, who lost in the Division IV state championship game. He also made 44 of 48 extra points and plans to handle punting duties this fall.
His older brother, Dan, played at Boardman and now kicks for the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
“My brother and my dad got me into it [kicking], but during middle school, I didn’t like it too much,” said Kennedy, whose first love was basketball. “But that started to change my freshman and sophomore year when I saw I had a chance to play college football and get my school paid for. It turned out exactly like I was hoping for.”
YSU’s starting kicker, Joey Cejudo, will be a senior this fall, so Kennedy will battle redshirt freshman Connor McFadden (Poland) for the starting job in 2015. McFadden’s father, Paul, played at YSU before kicking for three NFL teams from 1984-89.
“He’s a great kicker and a great kid, but I’m still going to go in there and try to start my freshman year,” Kennedy said of Connor. “You still have to earn the spot. If I’m good enough, I’ll play.”
A 3.5 student, Kennedy will first consider majoring in exercise science, in part because he enjoys training at Ted Rendinelli’s Max Athletic Training facility in Boardman.
“I’d like to be a trainer or a coach,” he said. “I’ve been given great opportunities and I’d like to pass it on to younger kids.”