BY HILLARY DODYK
Players and coaches have claimed for the past several seasons that Princeton football is on the rise and that the program is being successfully turned around, and it is now possible that potential recruits are taking notice as well. Though he had committed to Vanderbilt last May and signed an NCAA Letter of Intent in February, quarterback Chad Kanoff reversed his decision in mid-March and will wear orange and black instead of black and gold next year as a member of the Princeton University Class of 2017.
“Vanderbilt is a great school, with a strong football program and a terrific coaching staff, and I’m grateful for the opportunity that was offered to me. However, after thoroughly thinking it through, I believe that Princeton is the best fit for me as a student-athlete,” Kanoff said in a statement released by his high school, Studio City Harvard-Westlake. Kanoff could not be reached for comment.
The California prospect was given four stars by ESPN.com and ranked No. 29 on the Rivals.com list of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the country. He was also offered scholarships by San Diego State and Syracuse, among others. Although he gave no reason other than his official statement for his decision to rescind his commitment to Vanderbilt in favor of Princeton, he would have been the number two quarterback in his recruiting class at Vanderbilt.
For the Tigers, the addition of Kanoff adds even more depth to an already deep quarterback position. Head coach Bob Surace ’90 declined to comment, citing official team policy not to comment on any individual recruit until he is officially enrolled in the school and begins practicing with the team.
Surace has previously been very clear about his approach to recruiting and his goals for incoming classes.
“When I evaluate our roster talent-wise, there are just as many all-conference type players at Princeton as at other schools,” Surace said in an interview with the Princeton Football blog about the Class of 2016 last year. “What we don’t have is the depth.”
“[W]hen Tommy [Wornham ’12] got hurt, it was indication that of the 125 schools in the FCS, we would have been down near No. 125 at the quarterback position,” Surace said in that interview. “Now, for two years in a row, we have been able to get the No. 1 quarterback on our list. [Sophomores] Connor [Michelsen] and Quinn [Epperly] know the offense and had great springs. But [freshman] Kedric [Bostic] is good enough to come in and compete with them. He is a highly competitive kid who will put himself in the mix. So we have gone from what I believe was the last program in the country to being pretty good there.”
Epperly and Michelsen shared time taking snaps this season, but Bostic also saw playing time in the season finale against Dartmouth. There are currently seven quarterbacks on the official Princeton roster, and Kanoff likely will not be the only recruited quarterback in the Class of 2017.