The Browns rookies will arrive in Berea later this week for their first taste of NFL football, and one of them won't have to travel far. DeShone Kizer, the second-round pick and possible quarterback-of-the-future, will jump into his car and head East on Interstate 90, making the trip from Toledo in just a couple of hours.
And if you ask those in his hometown who know him well, they'll tell you that the Browns have landed a man who is grounded and true to his roots.
"You know what's really good is how often he comes back here when he's in town," Greg Dempsey, his former Toledo Central Catholic football coach said, referring to Kizer's frequent visits to his high school. "He's always popping in. He'll come in and talk ball with us, visit with the team. He goes and sees his teachers."
That's solid praise for a player who was labeled "a pure millennial" by one anonymous scout before April's NFL Draft, who told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Kizer is caught up in being more of a quarterback image than being a quarterback.
But that isn't the player that Dempsey knows.
"Well, definitely talent-wise he's off the chart," Dempsey said. "He's a winner. He's a champion. That position (QB), I've never seen anybody come through town like that."
Kizer led the Central Catholic Fighting Irish to a state title during his junior year.
He fell far short of that with the other Fighting Irish, leading Notre Dame to only four wins in 2016, but Kizer still threw for 24 touchdowns and rushed for 7 more, and the Browns believe he has a great chance to develop into a franchise quarterback under Hue Jackson. Dempsey certainly wouldn't disagree.
"He's the greatest I've ever coached," he said.
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