By Taylor Webster–
After playing in all but one game since 2014, it is Keith Kelsey’s final season playing for Louisville. The 6-foot-2, 240 lbs. middle linebacker has started every game for the past two years, totaling 194 tackles. Kelsey’s teammates voted him captain for the second straight year.
“It feels good to know that my teammates think of me this way and feel like I’m a leader on the team,” Kelsey said.“I think we’re going to be great. We have the talent to be the best ever.”
Kelsey’s led U of L in tackles last season and tied for seventh in the ACC. Kelsey placed third behind Devonte Fields and Sheldon Rankins tackles-for-loss with 12. No. 55 also had 3.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, one fumble recovered and one forced fumble. His junior year earned him All-ACC honors.
Kelsey has tallied over 215 career tackles, nearly 20 tackles-for-loss and nine sacks. While these numbers are impressive, Kelsey hopes to have an even better senior season.
“It means a lot to me to have a great season. I have always dreamed of being a great football player. This season is not just for me, but for my family too. I want to do well for them,” Kelsey said.
Now the fourth U of L team Kelsey has been apart of, the senior captain thinks there’s something different about the 2016 team.
“This year we have true leaders leading the team. The captains are not the only people leading the team; it’s all the seniors too,” Kelsey said. “Everyone is stepping up and taking this seriously.”
Having eight returning starters from last season is giving Kelsey a lot of confidence on his side of the ball. Of the eight returning starters, five were nearly locks to get taken in the NFL Draft. Add that to a lightning-in-a-bottle quarterback calling the shots, and there’s good reason why Kelsey feels 2016 will be special.
Kelsey realizes this is his last go around and there’s expectations surrounding the year.
“It’s been a great four years we have to live up to the hype and go out with a bang,” Kelsey said.
Photo by Noah Allison / The Louisville Cardinal