Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy “ELITE” Middle School Camp – Top Defensive Lineman Award
Kael Farkes is from Lenexa Kansas and participated in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy “Elite” Middle School Camp in Canton Ohio this past week. He stands at 6’1 and weighs 166 pounds and will attend the 8th grade this 2017-2018 academic year. Kael impressed the coaches with his physical prowess, mental toughness, and overall football technique each day. Kael stole the show with his size, power, and technique.
The experienced NFL coaching staff named Kael the “Top Defensive Lineman”. This award is not to be taken lightly given there was a ton of talent, tremendous competition, and three age groups for the coaches to consider. Youth1 was provided an All Access Pass to watch drills from field level. His talent was apparent from day#1 and in every drill he was going 100% with purpose and controlled aggression. When I asked if he would like return next season to compete he answered, “Yes, because I can’t wait to compete with the best of the best in the high school division” The willingness to accept challenges and invite competition is just one part of the humble character he portrayed throughout the week.
As with any decorated athlete, with numerous accomplishments including the elusive and coveted National Championship in 2015, where do we begin?
Dedication to academics
I would like to commend this student athlete for his achievements in the classroom, which he takes just as serious as he takes sacking a quarterback or tackling a running back for loss. Kael holds a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) at Trailridge Middle School and plans to carry this into high school and beyond. He has the support of his father Chris; who shows off his parenting skills by reinforcing a grades first policy in the household. Chris mentioned that he holds his son accountable and will not allow him to go to training, games, or participate in sports without doing his homework and putting in the effort in school. Mr. Farkes mentioned that his wife keeps Kael on his toes and communicates with his teachers, on a consistent basis, to ensure he is staying on task academically. I can’t say enough about this football family and all parents can take a page out of the Farkes family playbook.
Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy “ELITE” Middle School Camp – Top Defensive Lineman
This award is special for a number of reasons and will be yet another brick in his already solid athletic foundation. The coaches were the “best-of-the-best” and are used to seeing talented players come and go during their careers. Top Prospects in this camp were not only judged on their ability to block, run, and catch, but the intangibles college scouts look for in any recruit. The soft skills such as a firm hand shake, looking the coach in the eyes when speaking, mannerisms, not making the same mistake twice, coach ability, and being a team player all contributed to the selection process.
I was present in the Pro Football Hall of Fame interview room, the same place that all the great inductee’s sit for their first official interview. The room was magical and encompassed the aura of greatness, namely the famous white leather couches, adding to the grand stand atmosphere. This experience alone was amazing as a fan of the game. Kael performed under the media spotlight as if it were the fourth quarter of a state championship game with the style and grace “Elite Athletes” have been known to portray. He answered questions as if he were groomed for the moment and the moment was a prelude of future endeavors. I asked Kael about several features of this camp experience.
Kael was very forthcoming about the football I.Q. Test and said when he first started the test it was intimidating, but he got comfortable after a while. The student athletes spent time in the classroom that simulated the day in the life in a college or professional player. The players were given homework and parents were also treated with education, lectures, and classroom time during the 4 day event.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy “Elite” Camp is revolutionizing the way athletes are evaluated by collecting a wide variety of data from a variety of drills. The data is collected and the student athlete will be given 14 pages of results to review. This data may be given to a personal trainer, coach, or parent to help athletes improve. I asked him about the sports performance testing data and he plans on using the data collected to improve on his speed and agility for next year.
asked about his favorite part of the camp he stated, “I like the high level of completion.” The talent was apparent to any casual observer or the football buff. Student athlete’s traveled from California, Texas, Georgia, and in his case Kansas City to compete and the talent was exactly what you would expect from a top notch camp.
Areas of improvement
Kael wants to improve his already fast 5.56 40 yard dash on the unforgiving laser. This is by any standard a great score especially when we consider he is entering the 8th grade with a massive frame that will likely experience at least one more growth spurt. I have no doubt, after watching him in camp and speaking with him candidly about his self mentioned area of improvement, he will be sub 5.0, 40 yard dash by his sophomore season in high school. Before the phone interview he was just finishing a workout; this leads me to believe he is motivated, pumped up, and ready to improve sooner than later. This is a testament to his continued dedication to improve his speed and quickness. I witnessed him beating talented players off the ball and closing in the open field. His game is polished and has all the tools to take it to the next level. He said, “My knowledge of the game and the use of proper technique is the reason I am different.”
Fun Facts about Kael
Kael walked through the Hall of Fame for a second time and admitted he could not imagine himself as a bronze buff and immortalized forever as a football god. I guess he was the wrong person to ask this question, because with his speed, size, and technique it would not be out of the question to walk into the hall and see him one day.
Kael is a Kansas City Chiefs fan and I asked about the Super Bowl. He was obviously troubled by the question and so I quickly asked if he had a chance to attend any games. He liked this new line of questioning and said, “My parents used to be season ticket holders and I had the chance to go to a lot of games when he was younger.”
To make sure I was not speaking to a 20 year old, masquerading as an 8th football-phenomena, I asked if he owned a Fidget Spinner and he told me that he did not personally own one, but his sister did have one in her possession. He said that the fidget spinners did not bother him and that if a person needed one to help them out then he was ok with it. (Good answer big guy). Kael plays basketball and I have no doubt at 6’3 he is hard to handle on the perimeter or in the paint. He is also subbing on a travel baseball team as a pitcher and plays multiple positions including third base. With a 6’1 frame I can only imagine being a batter in the 7th grade and seeing his inside fastball barreling down and the dug-out chatterbox yelling, “Wear it!” Sorry sports fan’s but nobody is wearing that ball to take a base!
Here is some more Q & A with Kael Farkes:
Kael played for the Shawnee Mission Northwest 7th grade Cougars, 68’s Inside Sports Outlaws and was selected to play Pro Football Hall of Fame Canton Classic Tournament in 2016. I asked him if he was planning on returning to Canton in 2017 to chase another National Championship and he said, “Yes, but I have to get out of the Regional in Kansas City first!”
When asked favorite part of playing football? Kael replied, “The ability to work with other players and Coaches and to grow not only as a player on the field, but as a person off the field.”
Kael told me, “I play Tight End on offense and Defensive End on defense. As a tight End, I enjoy being able to contribute by both catching passes and blocking for other players with the ball to help my team out and to score. As a defensive end, I like the ability to put pressure on the quarterback and affect the outcome of plays.”
I asked how he thought he was progressing in the sport and he replied, “I feel that I am progressing in a positive way as a football player in both my technique and skills but I know I that I have a lot to learn still.”
Farkes not only gets it done with the 4.0 GPA, but has a football resume that is just as impressive. When asked about his preparation for the 2017 season he stated, “I went to the FBU Regional Camp in Kansas City in April. In May, I attended the USA Football Developmental Camp in Kansas City and the St. Thomas Aquinas High School Middle School Football Camp in Overland Park, KS.”
Kael was very busy and all the work paid off for Kael big time in the camp environment. Kael said, “In June, I attended the Mid-America Nazarene University camp in Olathe, KS. At the end of June, I attended the USA Football Developmental Games in Arlington, TX. In July, I attended the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy Elite Middle School camp in Canton, Ohio. In two weeks, I will attend the Shawnee Mission Northwest High School middle school camp. I have spent the off-season, beginning in January and continuing through the start of the regular football season, working out at Will Shields 68’s Inside Sports facility in Overland Park, KS. My coach there is Coach Pat Donahoe and we frequently get coaching from Coach Will Shields. We work on football technique; hit the weight room and work on conditioning 6 days a week.”
When asked about big plays and awards Kael said, “During the USA Football Development game in Arlington, TX, I was a starting defensive end and played on both the starting team and second team. During the game I had multiple sacks, tackles for loss, quarterback pressures and I knocked down a pass. I also had a pair of forced fumbles. During the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy Elite Middle School camp, I was chosenas the “Top Rated” defensive lineman at the camp among all ages and grades.”
What I really like about Kael is that he not satisfied with his current level of play, awards, trophies, rings, and recognition. This student athlete remains committed to work on his overall physical strength and has taken all the necessary steps to get bigger, faster, and stronger in the offseason. . Kael is humble and say’s that he wants to play football in college and does not care what division; as long as he plays. I will say that this young man has gotten off to one tremendous start. I would guess we will be seeing a lot more of him on Friday nights in a Shawnee Mission Northwest Cougars uniform.
Congratulations to the Kael Farkes for being selected as the Top Defensive Linemen at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy “Elite” Middle School Camp in Canton Ohio, by the selection committee that consisted of NFL experienced coaches. The coaches recognize Top Performers for the combination of size, speed, technique, and coach ability. Defensive ends with size, power, and technique are a nightmare for offensive coordinators at all levels. Whether Friday night lights in High School, Saturday’s in college, or Sunday’s in the NFL because it’s difficult to answer a question that there is no answer for. It is fitting that Kael’s favorite player is J.J. Watt, because he is devastating against the run and equally as explosive against the pass, which is characteristic of his game.
Link to most recent highlight tape:
Photo Provided by: www.bleechr.com and Lazaro Suarez
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