It’s not everyday that a major Division I football program gets a boost from a fellow athletic program, but that’s what’s happening at Utah, and with one of the least likely programs imaginable … because it doesn’t yet exist.
As reported by 247Sports, Utah lacrosse commit Kevin McKenna, a football and lacrosse star at Archbishop Stepanic High School (White Plains, N.Y.), has decided he’ll also join the school’s football program after he was offered a roster spot following a July football camp at the school.
If you did a double take when you read “Utah lacrosse,” don’t worry, you’re not alone. The Utes have never fielded a Division I lacrosse program, until now. Utah debuted as a new Division I team in spring 2019, finishing 5-10 while playing a majority of its games on Eastern Standard Time.
As they continue to expand their reach, the Utes landed a commitment from McKenna to join the program’s recruiting Class of 2020. That’s still the plan, though his scholarship could transfer to the football program if and when he plays in a game, as outlined by 247Sports:
According to NCAA scholarship rules, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound McKenna will be on a lacrosse scholarship and can practice with the football team. However, if he plays in a game, his scholarship would be transferred and count against football’s total.
McKenna said he was pleasantly surprised by the interest from the football program, but noted that the roster spot helped solve one growing dilemma for the teen.
“I was kind of shocked at first (about football), but I thought it was a really great opportunity to play both,” McKenna told 247Sports. “I find it really hard to give up one of the sports so I want to play both as long as I can.
“I played really well and the running backs coach (Kiel McDonald) invited me to his office for a conversation. That’s when I explained to him my situation with Utah and being committed to play lacrosse, and he said he would love to give me a roster spot (for football) if I am going to come out and play lacrosse.”
For now, all this means McKenna will be signing his lacrosse letter of intent in November. Where his Utah career evolves from there is up to he and his coaches.