Holyoke senior lineman Kevin Jourdain signs with Yale football

  • Holyoke junior Kevin Jourdain Jr., right, puts pressure on Chicopee Comprehensive quarterback Nathaniel Lepage in the second quarter of the Purple Knights' 53-35 AA League loss to the host Colts in Chicopee on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Lineman Kevin Jourdain, center, runs a drill during practice, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019 at Holyoke High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lineman Kevin Jourdain takes a water break during practice, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019 at Holyoke High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 12/16/2020 6:36:09 PM

Kevin Jourdain’s life has three phases: school, football and sleep. The Holyoke senior doesn’t leave time for much else.

“It’s kind of been torture. I know you’re supposed to have fun in high school and it’s all parties and that. But to me it’s all business,” he said. “You do what you gotta do and get out of there. I think about the future. I’d rather be in the gym than be at a party.”

After four years in purple, his future is Yale blue. Jourdain signed Wednesday to play Division I football at Yale, picking the Bulldogs among 10 next-level offers. He spurned the likes of Syracuse, UMass, Buffalo and other Ivy League schools.

“I knew Ivy League was the direction I wanted to go. I really value education. I knew I wanted to go that path,” Jourdain said. “So, out of the Ivy League schools, which one do I fit the best? Which one is where I would succeed the most? It was (Yale) or Harvard.”

Yale won the recruiting game. The Bulldogs are one of the oldest football programs in the country, competing since 1872. They play at the Football Championship Subdivision, which is the second tier of college football.

Yale has won two of the past three Ivy League championships and went 9-1 in 2019. The Ivy League did not have fall sports this year due to the pandemic.

“They really wanted me at these FCS schools,” Jourdain said. “The Ivy League, they’re very underrated bringing people to the NFL. There’s NFL potential. If I’m one of the 98 percent that don’t go the NFL, I have an Ivy League education to fall back on.”

Jourdain (6-foot-4, 275 pounds), who has played on both sides of the line of scrimmage as a Purple Knight, will play on the defensive line in New Haven, Connecticut. He had eight sacks, 12 tackles for loss and 66 tackles for the Purple Knights as a junior. He’s accumulated more than 20 sacks and 30 tackles for loss in his career.

“Kevin is a very level-headed kid who doesn’t make bad decisions,” Holyoke coach Joe Dutsar said. “He goes to school, he gets his As, he goes to practice then he goes to lift weights.”

Dutsar and his staff had their eyes on Jourdain when he was a seventh grader. They put him on varsity as a freshman, and he contributed immediately. Jourdain started to believe he was a Division I-level prospect near the end of his freshman year and fully realized it as a sophomore. He received most of his offers between his sophomore and junior seasons.

“He’s quite the character. He’s matured as a young man over the past two years,” Dutsar said. “He’s been very dedicated to his craft, doing things above and beyond to prepare himself for the season that was supposed to be happening in the fall.”

The MIAA didn’t approve football for the fall season, but it has been pushed back to the floating “Fall II” season in late February. Jourdain still plans to suit up for his senior season if the sport is approved, despite the injury risk.

“I want to help Holyoke as much as possible,” he said. “I want to do as much as possible to give back to the community that helped me.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.



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