ASHLAND, Neb. — His new college destination lets Brett Kitrell forget about the measly text message he got from the new Minnesota coaching staff.
Kitrell signed with Ohio on Wednesday, less than three weeks after the Ashland-Greenwood offensive lineman decommitted from his summertime pledge to the Gophers.
“I have a really good relationship with the coaching staff,” Kitrell said after his signing ceremony. “Coach (Frank) Solich coached my dad at Nebraska and coach (Dave) Johnson, their offensive line coach, is awesome.
“They’re in need of some O-linemen and hopefully by putting in the work I can get on the field a little bit early. Yeah, it just felt like it’s the right fit for me.”
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound senior, who had missed part of his junior season with an ACL injury, chose Minnesota last summer over offers from Central Florida, Ohio, Air Force and Army in the FBS and South Dakota and South Dakota State in the FCS.
Nebraska had been in contact with him through defensive line coach John Parrella, but hadn’t come through with an offer when he made his initial choice. Kitrell’s father, Barry, went to NU and older brother Bo will be a junior fullback.
Kitrell was recruited to Minnesota by Tracy Claeys’ staff. The coach was fired last month and P.J. Fleck hired from Western Michigan to replace him.
Fleck texted Kitrell after taking the job Jan. 6, and then the player said he heard little from the new staff after that. He decommitted six days later as many of Fleck’s commits from his old school were joining him and some of those Claeys recruited were going elsewhere.
Ohio still wanted Kitrell.
“They contacted me. They were the ones who jumped in right away and asked me to take an official visit,” Kitrell said. “I went two weekends ago and loved it. I figured it was the best place for me.”
He said he’s ready to learn from Johnson, who played for West Virginia and coached there as well as at Georgia, Cincinnati and Marshall.
Kitrell also visited Central Florida, where ex-Husker quarterback Scott Frost is coach. The Knights on Wednesday signed Noah Vedral of Wahoo Neumann, who’s another All-Nebraska player from Saunders County.
Ohio also will be getting a second Ashland-Greenwood lineman, Cole Irland, who’s walking on.
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Elkhorn's Jessica Childers signed to play soccer at Assumption College. Standing beside her is Elkhorn coach Troy Stoller.
Davon Wells-Ross, center, signs to play football with the University of Wyoming during football signing day at Omaha North on Wednesday, Feb. 1. To the left is Wells-Ross' father, James, to the left is his mother, Kim.
Daenen Jones signs to play football at Northern Colorado during football signing day at Omaha North.
Kevin Williams signs to play football at Northern Colorado during football signing day at Omaha North.
Lincoln Southwest: Front row, left to right: Jenna DeJonge (Nebraska Wesleyan soccer), Bailey Kaufman (The Kings College soccer), Hannah Davis (Kansas State soccer). Back row: Braeden Hartwig (Drake football), McLain Reed (Doane football), Brandon Crom (Doane cross country/track), Trevor Bogle Doane basketball).
Pictured left to right at Lincoln East: Coach Jim Ebke, Head Coach John Gingery, Carson Walters, Grady Greenwood, Chris Walker, Cavion Randall, Coach Ryan Fitzgerald, Coach Mike Janesch
Lincoln East's Carson Walters signs his national letter of intent to play football next season at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Lincoln East's Cavion Randall signs his national letter of intent to play football next season at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Alongside his parents including his father Gary, Lincoln East's Grady Greenwood signs his national letter of intent to play football next season at Washburn University.
Elkhorn's Jess Childers signed her letter of intent to play soccer at Assumption College.
Myles Mendell signed his letter of intent to play football for the Chadron State Eagles.
Gothenburg's Myles Mendell smiles after signing his letter of intent to play football at Chadron State.
Ashland Greenwood's Cole Irland and Brett Kitrell will continue their football careers at Ohio. Bluejays coach Ryan Thompson is behind them.
Several Wahoo Neumann football players will continue their playing careers. From left, Theo Blum (Midland), Noah Vedral (Central Florida), Neumann coach and Vedral's grandfather Tim Turman, Reid Jurgensmeier (Morningside) and Andrew Kliment (Midland)
Bellevue West's Chris Finn waits to sign a national letter of intent to play football at Morningside.
Bellevue West's Joel Savich signs a national letter of intent to play football at Hastings.
Bellevue West's Sylvo Johnson gets ready to sign a national letter of intent.
Bellevue West's Sylvo Johnson signs a national letter of intent to play football at Central Missouri.
Bellevue West's Sam Vanderslice signs a national letter of intent to play football at Doane.
Bellevue West's Malcolm Lee signs a national letter of intent to play football at Iowa Western.
Bellevue West's Malcolm Lee waits to sign a national letter of intent.
Bellevue West's Chris Finn shrugs before signing a national letter of intent to play at Morningside.
Gretna: From left, mom Lynda Arnold, Dragons coach Dave Shrader, Wyoming recruit Patrick Arnold, sister Kelly Arnold, dad Mitch Arnold.
Gretna's Chase Templeman, with his father Mark to his left and mother Laura to his right, signed to play football at South Dakota State next season. Gretna coach Dave Shrader stands behind them.
Gretna's Alex Irwin, alongside father Tony Irwin and mother Kelly Groux, signed to compete in football at Midland University.
Gretna's Jackson Burmeister, alongside mother Kelli and father Jamie, signed to compete in soccer at Rockhurst University.
Bellevue West's Sam Vanderslice waits to sign a national letter of intent to play at Doane at Bellevue West High School on Wednesday, February 01, 2017. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Bellevue West's Tyler Ciurej waits to sign a national letter of intent to play at University of South Dakota at Bellevue West High School on Wednesday, February 01, 2017. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Bellevue West's Tyler Ciurej signs a national letter of intent to play at University of South Dakota at Bellevue West High School on Wednesday, February 01, 2017. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Bellevue West's Henry Farnan signs a national letter of intent to play at Peru State at Bellevue West High School on Wednesday, February 01, 2017. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
From left to right: Alec Yaksich (UNK football), Thomas Tews (UNK football), Noelle Agenor (Buena Vista basketball), Anthony Tews (Augustana football), Cody Thompson (Midland football).
Council Bluffs Lewis Central's Kelsey McSorley signed to play soccer at Iowa State. Standing behind her are Titans coach Chris Von Mende and brother London McSorley. Sitting beside her are mother Tricia and father Mike.
Omaha Skutt's Madi McKeever signs with Northwest Missouri State soccer
Bellevue West's Christina Baxter, with parents Mike and Dawn Baxter, signed with Kansas State soccer.
Omaha Skutt's Trent Hixson signs with the University of Nebraska football team.