Very quietly, Kell head coach Derek Cook has transformed the Kell Longhorns football program into one of the best programs in Georgia. With a 35-12 record in the last four years, including their first region championship in 2010, they are a team to be reckoned with in the AAAA class. But coming into a season opener at the Corky Kell Classic versus eventual AAAAA state champion Grayson, Cook was faced with a lot of question marks on defense.
“We only returned four starters on defense, and Brendan had never played cornerback before,” Cook said of standout athlete Brendan Langley. “He did a great job covering No. 6 and No. 4 for Grayson, and that was when we knew we would be all right on defense.”
In his first year on defense, Langley (Marietta, Ga./Kell) made 60 tackles, six interceptions, five pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries. The 6-foot-1, 186-pound rising senior credits former Kell standout Brian Randolph, a 2011 Tennessee signee and SEC All-Freshmen selection, with helping him make the transition.
“I think I have progressed a tremendous amount as a defensive back in the last year,” said Langley, who just this morning added Alabama to his list of offers. “I actually did not even play defense as a sophomore, so just to improve to this level already, I think I am making great progress every day. Randolph helped me a lot with technique, footwork and hip placement during his time here, so I thank him a lot for that.”
Langley, who is set to attend the March 3 "Very Important Dawg" junior day, made the trip last month to Athens to attend Georgia’s first junior day of the year, and while he expected it to be just another campus tour, he was told by his recruiter of record, Will Friend, to expect a little more attention.
“The junior day at Georgia was a very comforting experience,” Langley said. “I kind of expected just to see the school, but Coach Friend said he was going to take care of me and he did. He kept me to the side and they paid me a lot of attention, so I know I can trust his word.”
The first offer was a special one for the Marietta native.
“I was on the phone with Coach Friend on Tuesday, and they were telling me they liked my size and my speed,” Langley said. “Then he put Mark Richt on the phone and he offered me a full scholarship. He said he wanted me to be a Dawg. To get the first offer, period, was like a sigh of relief. And for it to be from my hometown school in Georgia, I was in awe. Georgia was my favorite school growing up. It is my home-state program and there is just something about that red and black that I love. Hopefully things continue to go well between us in the next few months.”
Coach Cook had been in contact with Georgia the previous week, and the coaches informed him that an offer could come soon. Once again they stuck to their word.
“I was on the phone with Coach Friend last Friday and I could hear Coach Bobo razzing Friend in the background, yelling ‘What are y’all waiting on? C’mon, let’s go, let’s offer him!’ But he wanted to let Coach Richt see his film over the weekend before he pulled the trigger,” Cook said. “Sure enough, they called first thing Monday morning on my way to the school saying they were going to offer Brendan.”
Cook admitted getting the news of Langley’s first offer was special to him as well.
“I was anxious to find out, just because I am a Georgia graduate and a fan and all that, but I still want what is best for Brendan, regardless of whether it is Georgia or not,” Cook said. “But it was exciting for me as well as him that they were the first to offer him. He is a hard working guy on the field, in the weight room, and in the classroom, and he is beginning to reap the reward for his efforts over the year.”
South Carolina offered later that day, and Tennessee and Mississippi State both offered Wednesday morning. Flattered by the new offers, Langley hopes to check them all out soon. Florida, Miami, Clemson and Vanderbilt are other programs the emerging defensive back would like to earn an offer from.
With plans to major in pharmacology, Langley says academics will definitely be important in his decision, as well as staying relatively close to home if possible.
As a player, Langley has set the bar high in whom he tries to pattern his game after, showing the confidence needed to play out on an island.
“I try to mold my game after Darrelle Revis,” Langley said. “I like delivering the hits, picking off the quarterbacks, being aggressive, and jamming the wideout at the line whether I am in cover 1 or cover 2 or whatever the case may be. I think I have great speed and I do a great job breaking onto the ball. I do not think very people have the ability to not only be at the right place at the right time, but also have the ball skills to make a big play in the air like I can.”