Kevin Eckel follows brother's lead, commits to play football at Navy

Ten letters strung together in Kevin Eckel's e-mail address reveal exact information about his college choice and pedigree: kylegonavy.

Yes, he has committed to play football at Navy. Yes, he's the brother of ex-franchise rusher Kyle Eckel.

"Until I was 10 years old, we lived in South Philly almost next to the Vet and I always loved the Army-Navy game," Eckel said. "You'd see the jets fly over, and I always thought that was so cool.

"Really, even before Kyle went there, I was into going the military route. There's a lot of that in our family. I have a cousin who was a running back for Army in the '70s. I was always into the fly-the-jets thing and the brotherhood."

Kevin Eckel is a 6-2, 210-pound senior at Archbishop Carroll. His current positions are fullback and free safety; Navy sees him at the latter position or perhaps even outside linebacker.

Kyle, an Episcopal Academy grad, rushed for 2,906 yards and 25 touchdowns before graduating from Navy in '05. His service commitment was cut from 5 to 2 years, and he's now in camp with the Miami Dolphins.

Kevin last year compiled a 3.9 grade-point average, and his overall academic profile would indicate he will receive the necessary congressional appointment. The brother-in-law of Carroll coach Dan Bielli is U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., who also is a retired Navy officer and has vowed to assist.

Except for the '03 season, when his playing dates for St. Denis in Havertown were not a good match, Kevin was a constant at Kyle's games.

Then, though, it was usually watch game, head home. Seeing the Navy experience from a different perspective sold him completely.

"I went to their 3-day camp last June," Kevin said. "I love the campus and seeing the camaraderie among the coaches and players who came back to help . . . well, I told myself I'd be crazy not to take this opportunity." *