Chester Graves remains one of the nation’s top uncommitted defensive lineman, a 6-foot-5 wrecking ball of a defensive end who has served as the anchor for Park Hill’s defense throughout his senior season. His size and athleticism have earned Graves scholarship offers from the likes of Missouri, Ole Miss, Iowa, Ohio State and Wisconsin, among others, but his personality has earned him something far greater from his own coach.
As reported by Kansas City CBS affiliate KCTV, Graves has been psuedo-adopted by Park Hill head coach Josh Hood and his family. The senior still lives with his father near campus, but he spends much of his time with Hood’s family, as few have ever seen Graves’ parents in person.
The bond is so close that it was Hood and his wife who escorted Graves at the team’s senior night, not one of his biological parents. Hood’s son and daughter have acted as siblings to Graves, who says he expects to eventually decide on a future football program at some point in the new year.
For now? He’s focused on finishing up his final year at Park Hill while appreciating what he has with the Hood family and the advice of another, more famous mentor: former Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.
“His message to me was to keep striving, be the person you want to be, not the person other people want you to be,” Graves told KCTV.