Today is a moment for college prospects all across the nation that is a culmination of years’ of hard work, dedication and sacrifice that ultimately leads to a dream come true. For Connecticut’s own Khyon Gillespie, a running back from Capital Prep in Hartford, his dream was realized this morning when he put pen to paper and signed his national letter of intent to join the University of Connecticut.
Gillespie is a speedster and a threat to take it the distance each time he gets his hands on the ball. He transitioned from a quarterback his freshman year into Capital Prep’s main ball carrier and by his junior season, Gillespie approached 2,000 all-purpose yards, including 1,600-yards on the ground.
“Khyon is a player who shined from the very start,” Capital Prep’s offensive coordinator Ray Lynch said when reminiscing about Gillespie’s time in the program.
But carrying the ball is not all Gillespie did for the Trailblazers.
“He was always on the field for defense and even special teams, rarely coming off for breaks,” Lynch said. “His speed helps him track down ball carriers and receivers as well as make tackles on kickoff and punt. His knowledge of the game allows him to think fast and play even faster.”
Gillespie’s work ethic is something that separates him from the average high school player.
“He’s the first guy in line for drills, leading the way in the weight room, and during conditioning,” Lynch described. “He helps teach younger players proper technique for lifting, running, and how to play the game the right way. When he needs to run a sprint, complete a workout, or go through drills, he is the first one to finish. Khyon does a great job of leading by example.”
Those leadership traits are something that falls right in line with what Huskies head coach Randy Edsall is looking for in his recruits.
“Khyon is a friendly kid who is social, fun to be around, and an overall good person,” Lynch, who also serves as a math teacher at Capital Prep, said. “He comes to school and greets all staff, faculty, and administration with a smile on his face and a welcoming ‘good morning.’ In the classroom, he leads as if he were on the football field or in the weight room. Being to class on time and completing assignments given, are important to him. Over the last two years, he’s also completed a Social Justice Project.”
Gillespie is also not just a one-sport athlete, also running varsity track and field, sprinting on both the indoor and outdoor teams. His versatility is evidenced by how he’s been utilized throughout his high school career. He possesses the traits to line up out wide and also has the ability to run the wildcat. Defensively, he played safety and outside linebacker, further evidence that he does not shy away from contact. He also serves as Capital’s kick and punt returner, is a gunner on the punt team and also is part of the kickoff, punt and field goal units.
“Khyon is a kid that every coach wishes their team was full of,” Lynch said. “He helps make coaching very fun and easy. He comes to practices, scrimmages, or games each day ready to work hard, does things the first time a coach tells him and has a great passion in learning the game. Khyon helps players around him get better and asks questions to further his knowledge of the game.”
With that work ethic, mentality and daily approach, it sure sounds like Gillespie will be a perfect fit for what Randy Edsall is looking to put back together in Storrs.
MATT SCHONVISKY / SITE CREATOR