Neal Brown has had a relationship with Austin Kendall and his family for years. Austin’s older brother, Ryan, was a walk-on wide receiver at Kentucky when Neal Brown was the offensive coordinator there.
Austin would have likely gone to play with his older brother and for Brown at Kentucky if Brown stayed there and chose not to go to Troy. Brown had given Austin’s brother Ryan a chance to play at Kentucky and formed a relationship with the Kendall family. According to Austin’s father, Brian Kendall, “He would have went to Kentucky if Neal stayed. I have no doubt about that in my mind.”
Austin Kendall initially chose to attend Tennessee before ultimately deciding to go to Oklahoma. Kendall waited patiently behind two Heisman Trophy winners while earning his degree at Oklahoma in three years. When Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley recruited former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts to Lincoln, it made perfect sense for Austin Kendall to finally reunite with Neal Brown.
Neal Brown has wanted Austin Kendall to be his quarterback for years. He wanted him in Kentucky, he certainly wanted him to follow him to Troy and he wanted him when he decided to come to Morgantown.
Not only does Brown have a relationship with the Kendall family, he knows what Austin Kendall is capable of behind a solid offensive line and with talented playmakers surrounding him. Brown has watched Kendall as a strong-armed, four star quarterback out of Charlotte, North Carolina and followed his progress for years. Brown knows Austin Kendall’s potential better than anyone and he doesn’t want to give up on him without giving him a real, fair shot to prove himself.
What’s frustrating for Brown this season is that he can’t put Kendall in position to prove himself because West Virginia doesn’t have the offensive talent to surround him with. Although Kendall has struggled with downfield throws, he has been hampered by an infection on his throwing hand and young, albeit very talented, wide receivers.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Kendall isn’t just the starter for the remainder of the season but also the starter next season as well. Neal Brown knows what Austin Kendall can do if he is surrounded with talent and Brown will continue to try to put Kendall in position to succeed. Brown is right, Austin Kendall deserves a fair shot and a real opportunity to prove himself as the starting quarterback of the Mountaineers.