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.

Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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