Countryside's Kee Whetzel makes it official with Oregon State
Countryside’s Kee Whetzel put pen to paper, signing his national letter of intent to play football at Oregon State during a ceremony in the school’s gymnasium.
Whetzel, a three-star recruit, had options closer to home, including Central Florida. But he was intent on heading to Corvallis, Ore., a decision he made within the past week. Now, Whetzel’s football journey will take him 2,400 miles from home.
“It’s just a great feeling,” Whetzel said. “It’s been a long road, stressful as well. But I’m so blessed and thankful to be here.”
This was no solo trek for Whetzel. He had plenty of help from his family.
Whetzel bounced from foster home to foster home until he was adopted at age 5 by Wayne and Karla Whetzel.
The couple first adopted Kee and his younger brother, Deondre. Three years later, the Whetzels adopted older brothers Brian and Trey. They did not stop there. They adopted Josiah, the lone brother not biologically related to Kee and the rest.
Kee's other two brothers were adopted by another local family.
Every family member was there for Wednesday’s signing.
“If you would have asked if this could have happened when I was a freshman I would have said no,” Whetzel said. “But I was able to make it a reality. It’s the happiest moment of my life.
Whetzel initially had whittled down his list of schools to Arizona, UCF and Maryland. It was not until last week that Oregon State came through with an offer. Whetzel visited the school this past weekend and committed during the trip.
“I went out there and everything just felt right,” Whetzel said. “There were reservations being so far away. I’ll miss my family like anybody else, but I had to what’s right for me.”
Whetzel said he already has a standardized test score but needs to boost his GPA before qualifying.
“I’ll get everything done and be ready to play in the fall,” Whetzel said.
Four other Countryside football players signed: defensive back Felix Dixon (North Dakota State), quarterback Trent Chmelik (Florida Tech), offensive lineman Wyatt Panaccione (Florida International) and tight end Chris Barrett (Georgia Southern). Ethan Singer, who attends Countryside but plays soccer for the Clearwater Chargers’ Development Academy program, signed with the Naval Academy.