The magnitude of the Michigan State offer didn’t make it an easy decision for Kelvin Flores.
The Miami Northwestern senior kicker had been committed to Division II Glenville State for more than two weeks, even with Division I schools Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M calling.
When Michigan State gave him a shot, however, he couldn’t turn it down. Flores announced his commitment to the Spartans on Sunday.
“It’s an honor to play for a big school,” he said. “Not everyone has the opportunity to go Division I football or especially make it to the Big Ten. I’m very excited.”
— K (@Kelvinflores03) May 7, 2017
Big Ten or Division II? The decision seemed clear. But it wasn’t that simple. Flores would have been on a full ride scholarship at Glenville State. The Spartans, on the other hand, had awarded a full ride to another kicker, Cole Hahn, a week earlier.
Michigan State defensive ends coach Mark Snyder, who learned about Flores while in Miami in April, couldn’t offer a full ride. Flores’ commitment comes with something to prove.
“I’m not going to be on a full scholarship yet,” he said. “[Snyder] told me if I do what I have to do during the season, by January, I’ll be on a full. So it’s just really up to me. I told him that I’m very competitive. I know they signed another kicker not so long ago. I’m not just satisfied with the offer. I’m there to play.”
Flores said he will be receiving some scholarship money, but he will still have to pay part of his way — at least for the first semester. Coming from a family with two siblings and a single mother providing for all of them, that’s a lot to ask. But he couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
“It was a tough decision,” Flores said, “but I feel like this is the right one, and this is what I’m going to go with.”
Michigan State’s newest commit doesn’t care where he’s asked to step in, whether it’s kickoffs, field goals (he once hit from 63 yards in a game) or even punting, which he occasionally handled for his high school.
“We’ll see what happens when I get up there,” he said.
Kohl’s Kicking calls him a “talented ball striker who swings with ease and hits great footballs.” Flores ranks outside the top 99, while Hahn sits 16th in Kohl’s ratings.
As for academics, he knows he wants to go into either dentistry or orthodontics, which played a big part in his choosing Michigan State. His smile has long garnered compliments, which gave him the idea of working with teeth.
To ensure that he gets the scholarship money necessary to work toward that degree, Flores knows he has to perform on the field. And he plans to go in with the knowledge that he’s low on the kicking hierarchy.
“I’m just there to play football,” he said. “Hopefully I get the starting position. I’m not saying I’m the best kicker out here because I’m not. There’s a lot of competition. But I’m going to work my hardest to get that starting position.”