He’s learned a lot. It’s a good move for him. He’s happy, and the coaches do a great job at Arizona Western. —Kyle Kafentzis, on Austin Kafentzis
SANDY — The college football career of one of Utah’s best-ever prep quarterbacks has taken another unexpected turn.
Jordan High standout Austin Kafentzis decided to leave Nevada to attend Arizona Western, a junior college in Yuma, this fall. It will be the third college enrollment for the Sandy native since he graduated in December of 2014.
“He thought it was best to take a step back, and then start the recruiting process over after this season,” said Austin’s father Kyle Kafentzis. “He’s worked harder than ever. He’s got a smile on his face all of the time, and he just realizes this is his path.”
Austin Kafentzis, who set 15 state records in his four-year prep career, committed to Wisconsin before his senior year, in large part, because of then head coach Gary Andersen. When Andersen left Wisconsin at the end of the 2014 regular season to take the Oregon State head coaching job, Kafentzis opted to keep his commitment to Wisconsin rather than follow Andersen to Oregon State.
He enrolled in January of 2015, but left after competing in spring ball and track and field for the Badgers. He enrolled in Nevada, but was not eligible to play per NCAA transfer rules, so he used his redshirt season.
His father said he decided to leave Nevada after Nick Rolovich took the head coaching job at the University of Hawaii in late November. Kafentzis visited Arizona Western in Yuma and felt comfortable with the staff and the school.
Kyle Kafentzis said they’ve realized that while the commitment athletes make is legally to a college, the reality of whether or not they will play comes down to who the coach is, especially for a quarterback.
“The reality is, if you want to play football, you’ve committed to the coach, for a quarterback for sure,” Kyle Kafentzis said, adding that Austin is not discouraged by the turmoil of his playing situation. “He’s taking it in stride. When you’re six-foot-and-a-half and they have too many quarterbacks, the first person they’re going to try to move is you. In both cases, both his OCs left.”
Kafetnzis is determined to play quarterback and has used this time to learn and develop as a player.
“He’s learned a lot,” his dad said. “It’s a good move for him. He’s happy, and the coaches do a great job at Arizona Western.”
Austin will be able to finish his associate degree by the end of the fall 2016 season, and he hopes to head to a four-year school for spring ball.