SIGNING DAY: Norman North's Bo Kemmet has his dreams all lined up

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

Norman North's Bo Kemmet talks with family during National Signing Day, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, at Norman North High School.

Perhaps everything should be so easy, the way it was for Norman North’s Bo Kemmet when he signed to play his college football at the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

Yes, it’s a mouthful.

To be clear, the USMMA is not the the governing body of American cage fighting or anything like it.

It’s much cooler than that.

And, oh, for everything to be so easy and one-sided in the best possible way as it was for Kemmet on Tuesday.

It took place at 8 a.m.

“It kind of finally sunk in. I’m sitting there with my parents and it’s a dream that I’ve had for so long finally coming true,” he said. “It’s kind of like this weight fell off me of, ‘You’ve earned it, you’ve done everything you needed to do to get to this point.”


Sort of.

“It was just this overwhelming moment of joy,” he said. “I was really excited.”



Just sweet.

Kemmet was North’s punter last season. He played some tight end, too. Back when it was Brent Barnes coaching the Timberwolves and Barnes would send two kickers out, threatening onside taps following touchdowns, Kemmet was one and Jackson Wilhite the other.

Both Barnes’ old staff and the one belonging to Justin Jones, who took over prior to last season, Kemmet said, never stopped encouraging him that, yes, his dream to play college football was attainable.

It wasn’t his only dream.

“Military academies have been my main goal since before middle school,” Kemmet said. “That’s always been a dream of mine.”

He visited three schools.

The U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, The U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, and the Merchant Marines in King’s Point, Long Island, New York.

Talk about a young man living his dreams.

It began with his father, Rob, who was a Marine, which is not exactly the same thing as the Merchant Marines.

Still, the way the military life suited his father, and the way his father, now an Oklahoma City police officer, has been a role model in his life, it has long made sense to Kemmet to follow in his footsteps.

“There’s always that over-arching, serving my country, being a part of something that’s bigger than myself [motive],” Kemmet said. “But the core values they have — honor, integrity, honesty — those are things that I’ve always strived to apply to myself here and it’s something I want to continue to do and carry out into my life and career after college.”

So he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps, just maybe not entirely, which is where the Merchant Marines comes in.

Upon graduation, Kemmet will have the option of being commissioned into any of the armed services, actively or in reserve. Should his thinking not change, he believes he’ll go the Naval route, not the Marines.

The reason is simple:

“Life at sea,” Kemmet said.

That’s what the Merchant Marines are all about. For instance, if Kemmet opted into reserve duty rather than active duty, “You graduate with a shipping license … You can work for any shipping company in the world.”

He could write his own ticket.

“They really have narrowed it down to, we want you to be able to work on a ship, work around a ship, work around a shipyard,” Kemmet said.


“Nothing against the Army and Air Force,” he said. “They have amazing campuses and the same values, just not quite the jobs I’m looking for.”

Kemmet believes he’ll get to kick for the Mariners — of course they’re called the “Mariners” — and maybe spend some time on the offensive or defensive lines. The coaches have told him they like him for both.

“It’s been such a surreal thing to know I’m playing college football,” Kemmet said, “Just knowing I”m going to be on the team is so satisfying to me.”

The Merchant Marines are a member of the NCAA’s Division III. Its league is the NEWMAC.

Last season, the Mariners went 8-2 and won the New England Bowl, beating Endicott College 38-22 in Beverley, Massachussets.

“I think he’ll be able to do it all in that league,” Jones said. “And I think five years from now, when he graduates from that academy, I think he’s going to make a positive impact.”

Having lived a couple of dreams already, he’ll get to chase another one.

Life at sea.

“I leave, middle of the summer,” Kemmet said, “and I start what’s going to be the rest of my life.”

It’s heavy, heavy stuff.

It just didn’t sound heavy.

It sounded like he can’t wait.