It was something of a farewell performance for KJ Hamler when he ran pass patterns, caught passes and did push-ups at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp at Wayne State.
Earlier this week the 2017 wide receiver from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s announced he will not be a senior at St. Mary’s in the fall.
Instead, Hamler, 5-feet-9, 155-pounds, will be a senior wide receiver at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
And why not? The tuition for a boarding school student — Hamler will probably not make the commute from Farmington every day — is a mere $72,900 a year.
That’s right — $72,900!
“I ain’t paying that,” Hamler said emphatically Friday afternoon. “I don’t know what I’m paying, but I’m not paying that.”
But he will be enrolling at IMG, something that he has been thinking about for some time, spurred by former Michigan receiver Devin Funchess, who is with the Carolina Panthers.
“It came up at the beginning of this (school) year, but I said I was staying here,” he said. “In the middle of the year school year it started coming up again. My God-brother, Devin Funchess, kept mentioning it to me: ‘Hey, KJ I need you to go down there.’
“I didn’t really want to go down there at first — I’m leaving my family, I’m leaving my friends — but at the end of the day I took a visit. I just got back Monday.”
When he returned to Michigan he had his mind made up, although his family certainly played a role in his decision-making process.
“My mom, she wanted me to go down there,” he said. “My dad had a little hard time with it, I’m his only son. They took this risk and they took the sacrifice because they want to make me better. They want to put me in a position where I can be great.
“I told my pops when I was 4-years-old, I want to be the greatest in the world.”
Hamler may not be the greatest in the world, but he was certainly one of the better wide receivers at the camp.
He did not catch every pass thrown his way, which is where the push-ups came in. Whenever he didn’t catch a ball that hit his hands, Hamler — unprompted — dropped to the ground and did 10 push-ups.
“I probably did 30 push-ups,” he estimated.
But he did show amazing quickness and excellent cutting ability that has made him popular with college coaches. This week he picked up an offer from Oregon, which gives him 26 offers.
Among the colleges that have extended offers are Michigan, Michigan State, Arizona and a bevy of other schools from power five conferences and many of the schools are not limiting him to receiver.
“A lot of people want me to play both ways as well,” he said. “Louisville and Michigan were talking about playing me both ways. Kentucky wants to play me both ways. Penn State may want to play me both ways.”
But he will not be playing both ways at St. Mary’s this year as the Eaglets attempt to win their third consecutive state title.
That was one of the minuses in accepting the offer to play at IMG this fall.
“I’ll probably miss out on the three-peat in the state championship,” Hamler said. “I believe Orchard Lake still has a chance to win the state championship. I’m just a little piece of the puzzle, I’m not the whole team. You all can’t rely on one person. Orchard Lake still has a sweet team in my opinion and they can go three-peat.”
Hamler insisted there was nothing that drove him away from St. Mary’s. It was more of a business decision.
“It wasn’t nothin’ personal with my school, it was just they offered me an opportunity and I took it,” he said. “It was a better opportunity for me. They’re going to get me mentally, physically ready for college. Plus, being far away from home, if I make a decision to go out of state, it’s just better for me.”
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.