Northeastern High three-sport standout Kaden Hamilton to take postgraduate year

ROB ROSE
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Northeastern senior Kaden Hamilton catches a pass during a game against Dallastown.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Kaden Hamilton is willing to wait for the right opportunity to play football at the next level.

The Northeastern High School three-sport standout had interest from several college teams, but the COVID-19 pandemic limited his recruiting potential and altered his original plans. After he spent the past few months of his senior season considering his future, Hamilton has announced that he will take a postgraduate year at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey to focus on football and find the best fit for him.

“It’s definitely a long thought process between you, your family and your coaches and everything, but it all depends on what you believe will help you in the future, what would you succeed at and where would you see your best self at?” Hamilton said.

“It just takes a long time to really understand the whole college process and how the coaches think. Do they really want you to play there? Are you going to start there? Are you going to get playing time and everything, so take all that into consideration as well.”

A bond with the Lawrenceville coaches: Hamilton’s relationship with The Lawrenceville School actually started years ago. Hamilton sent his highlights to the coaches as a sophomore, but once the COVID-19 pandemic prevented NCAA Division I coaches from making recruiting trips, conversations began again about the Bobcats standout joining the program.

Northeastern at Dallastown football,
Friday, September 25, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The 6-foot, 1-inch, 185-pounder said a few other schools were interested in him doing a postgraduate year there, but he didn’t build a bond with their coaches like he did with Lawrenceville’s staff. 

While he’s in New Jersey, Hamilton hopes to hone his skills at cornerback and spend more time in the gym training. Hamilton will also participate in track to help improve his speed.

Three-sport star: At Northeastern, Hamilton was a York-Adams League Division I second-team all-star at cornerback and wide receiver in 2020 and a Y-A League D-I second-team all-star in basketball. Through three meets this season, Hamilton has already claimed several first-or-second place finishes in the jumping events for the Bobcats’ track and field team.

Northeastern High senior Kaden Hamilton jumps during a dual meet vs. Red Lion. Hamilton won a pair of events at the Arctic Blast held at Northern York.

Despite his success on the field, court and track, COVID-19 hurt his recruiting, like so many other high school seniors. Hamilton said college coaches planned on coming to practices or games before the NCAA-mandated, no-travel restrictions for recruiting were put in place.

“It's terrible timing. It couldn't be worse, basically,” Hamilton said. “That's why you have to promote yourself as much as you can on social media so the coaches can see it.”

Looking to lose "under-the-radar" label: In the end, he received offers from NCAA D-I Football Championship Subdivision Valparaiso University, NCAA D-II Lincoln University and NCAA D-III Gettysburg College. Hamilton's hope is that the extra year at Lawrenceville will set up more opportunities so he can remove the photo that reads “Under the Radar” from his Twitter header and land an NCAA D-I scholarship.

The Lawrenceville School sent players to NCAA D-I FCS Tulane University and NCAA D-I UConn in 2020.

Northeastern at Dallastown football,
Friday, September 25, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Three years after he visited the school and was wowed by the campus and facilities, Hamilton has found his home for next season. With so much uncertainty during the past year, Hamilton is happy knowing that he has a chance to prove he has the skills to earn a scholarship at a program he’s been interested in for years.

“It's exciting to see how different it is from public to private school,” Hamilton said. “The differences with the community, how they teach and how everything works, because I've never experienced a private school. It’s definitely a new experience for me and I'm just excited to get out there and see it for myself.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.