Kyle Basil was an accomplished athlete growing up in Chillicothe — good enough to go on to a soccer career at the University of Dayton and play on a team that would win the Atlantic 10 championship.
But he was always overshadowed by younger brother Drew, a natural at any sport he tried.
“We kind of call him The Golden Child,” Kyle said. “Honestly, growing up, you would have thought he was going to excel at baseball or basketball.
“In baseball, playing Little League, he probably hit over 50 home runs — and he stopped playing when he was 12. When you hit a home run in Little League, you get to keep the ball. We just had a bag of balls in the garage. It kind of lost its value after a while. I hit one home run in my baseball career, and it’s in a trophy case right now.
“At high school basketball games, you go onto the court and shoot 3’s (at halftime). You pay a dollar and if you make it, you get $2 back. He was doing that when he was 7 or 8 and making them and stealing money from high schools.”
Drew Basil may have had his pick of sports, but he followed his brother’s footsteps and became a soccer player and kicker on the football team at Chillicothe High School.
After starring in both, Ohio State signed him to a football scholarship, and he’s become one of the most consistent kickers in the Big Ten during his four years, a leader for the Buckeyes and is on pace to make more starts at his position than any player in OSU history. The Golden Child has turned out just fine.
“I’m just really proud of him,” Kyle said. “It’s really been cool to see him grow not only as a kicker and football player, but who he is as a person and a man — just seeing how he interacts with people and how he handles himself.”
The feeling is mutual. Drew Basil attended many of his brother’s soccer games at UD and admired the way he dealt with adversity.
Kyle suffered a broken leg playing club soccer in the winter of his senior year in high school and was never the same after that. Though he never saw extensive action, he became one of the most respected members of the team, according to UD coach Dennis Currier, helping to set the tone as the Flyers won an A-10 tournament crown and reached the NCAA tourney during his junior year in 2008 and then captured the regular-season title in ’09.
“He handled it great,” Drew said of Kyle’s dashed individual dreams. “He was able to graduate with a civil engineering degree in four years and also be a varsity athlete. I never heard him complain. He’s one of those guys who goes to work every single day and doesn’t complain about it and gets the job done.
“He’s just an awesome brother. He’s helped me out with anything and everything.”
Kyle, now a math teacher at Groveport Madison High School, may be able to impart some life lessons to his little brother, but when it comes to kicking, Drew pretty much has that down.
He’s connected on 26 of 34 field goals for his career, and he ranks fourth all-time at OSU in accuracy at 76.5 percent
He led all Big Ten kickers with an 84.2-percent clip as a sophomore by hitting on 16 of 19 attempts.
Coach Urban Meyer said Basil actually helps to coach all of the specialists and guides them through their work in the weight room, classroom and elsewhere.
“He’s not what people think of as a stereotypical kicker,” Kyle said. “He’s 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, and he’s a rock. He’s super strong and has a great leg.
“But I think a lot of people (miss) the impact he’s made on the team. He doesn’t care that he’s a kicker. That’s not going to stop him from getting involved and being part of the team.”
Kyle pointed out Drew’s contribution on the first PAT of the season. The Buckeyes lined up in a trick formation, and holder Kenny Guiton scored on a two-point conversion while Basil blocked.
“I don’t know if you’d really call it much of a block. He kind of got in the way,” Kyle said. “But even though he got knocked over, he was one of the first guys over celebrating with Kenny. He’s just got a genuine excitement about football and what he does and works really hard at it.”
Game days are a family event for the Basils. They arrive in time to see Drew warm up about 90 minutes before kickoff and then take their seats to watch the Buckeyes in action, although it can be a little nerve-wracking when Drew takes center stage.
“On field goals, no matter what the distance, my heart kind of races on those,” Kyle said. “But he’s done pretty well. I don’t know how he does it.”
Drew takes a slightly different approach than most kickers.
“One thing I like to do is stay loose during a game,” he said. “Some kickers will go over and hit a lot of balls into a net. I’m one of those other guys. I rarely hit a ball into the net.
“I like to take mental reps. I walk up and down the sidelines and do some air-kicks, so you’re not putting those kicks on your leg from hitting the ball (and wearing out). You can keep track that way on what’s going on in the game. You’ve got to know.”
Drew attempted just 11 field goals last season, making eight, because the Buckeyes were so proficient at scoring touchdowns. And he’s tried only two this year, making a pair of 39-yarders.
But he’s got enough of a portfolio to get a look from NFL teams next year. And if that doesn’t work out, he’ll have a communications degree after this semester and has already done an internship with WCMH-TV in Columbus.
“He has really high goals and ambitions and wants to make it kicking, but I think he knows the NFL stands for Not For Long league,” Kyle said. “If it happens and works out, great. But he has a good head on his shoulders. He’s excited about more than just football.”
Ohio State (3-0) vs. Florida A&M (1-2), noon, Big Ten Network, 1410