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Prep Focus: Kindell joins Les Schwab roster

Lincoln High receiver Jaray Kindell grew up in a football family.

When he was a youngster, he watched his brother, Jaleel Kindell, play receiver for Tigard High and win a state championship in 2003.

Jaleel Kindell says he and the rest of his family always hoped Jaray would become a success on the gridiron, as well.

“Jaray has been around the game at a very high level since he was born,” says Jaleel Kindell, who served as an assistant coach with the Portland Interscholastic League Cardinals last season. “He watched me win a state title at Tigard. He used to be at all the games. We dreamed of him one day being a big-time high school receiver.”

Mission accomplished.

Jaray Kindell will play in the 2014 Les Schwab Bowl, which takes place at Hillsboro Stadium at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

“He’s a tremendously gifted football player,” says Adam Grimes, who was Kindell’s head coach at Lincoln. “He’s very explosive. He’s very smart. He’s a great route runner. He’s everything that you want in a complete wide receiver at the high school level.”

Kindell says of his selection to the annual high school all-star football game: “It’s a great honor. It showed me that my hard work has paid off.”

The game pits top players from around the state against one another, North vs. South.

Central Catholic’s powerful Class 6A state championship team has five players participating in the Les Schwab Bowl: Aaron Washington, AJ Newman, Connor Humphreys, Ryan Nall and Aidan Wilder.

Roosevelt High has three players who will suit up for the North squad, as well: Sione Taumoe’anga, Semise Kofe and James Schell-Buchanan.

And Bryson Dizon will represent David Douglas High.

Last year, Kindell had 93 receptions, 1,900 total yards, 16 touchdowns and five interceptions for Lincoln.

While he was happy with the way he played individually, Kindell was disappointed with the Cardinals going 2-8.

“Individual-wise, it was good,” Kindell says. “It was fun. But our record wasn’t very good. It was kind of bittersweet.”

Grimes says Kindell deserved to be selected to play in the Les Schwab Bowl, and that Kindell should have received much more accolades his senior season.

“Making the Les Schwab Bowl is completely deserved,” Grimes says. “It’s a complete disservice that he wasn’t all-state. He was the second leading receiver in the state, and for him not to get honorable mention all-state, let alone first or second team, is ridiculous. I understand we were 2-8, but you ask other coaches we played against, they’ll tell you this kid should’ve been all-state.”

Kindell is listed as a defensive back on the Les Schwab Bowl roster. However, he is much more comfortable as a receiver.

“I’ve been playing receiver most of my life,” the 5-11, 185-pound Kindell says. “I’m going to play that at the next level. I like them both equally, but I’m more comfortable on offense.”

Kindell will be going to Foothill College, a junior college in Los Altos Hills, Calif. He is not necessarily thinking of using the JC platform as a springboard into an opportunity to play at a four-year school, though.

“I didn’t really look at it that way,” Kindell says. “But, I guess I could. I’m just going to go out there and play.”

Grimes says that the biggest thing Kindell will need to improve is his strength at the next level. Other than that, Grimes says Kindell just needs to keep progressing and improving the skills he already has.

“College defensive backs are stronger than high school defensive backs, so he’s identified strength as something he needs to improve,” Grimes says. “He’s already got pretty good speed, but you can always get faster. As far as his catching the ball, his route running, his blocking, you can fine-tune that stuff. There is no major change he needs to make. It’s all just fine-tuning the skills he already has.”