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The Cardinal Countdown: 55 Days Until Kickoff

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#55 Keith Kelsey

Class: Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-1/236

Position: Linebacker

Hometown: Gainesville, FL

Twitter: @D1prospect6

Thoughts: If you’re deep in thought looking for potential negatives associated with fielding amazing defenses every year (first of all, why are you doing that?) one that comes to mind is the potential to overlook REALLY good players in light of great ones. Keith Kelsey is a beast. The kid has come in and done nothing but perform since Day 1 but was somewhat overshadowed by the Lorenzo Mauldin’s or Preston Brown’s of the world. Kelsey walked in the door to a very good defense back in 2013 and played in 12 games, grabbing 24 tackles as a true freshman. While one may have expected Kelsey to level out last year with a talented veteran group on the field he raised the bar once again starting all 13 games at linebacker and trailed only James Sample in total tackles with 87. Kelsey also had 6 sacks, 8 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery last year. Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way as Athlon Sports listed Kelsey as one of the most underrated players in the ACC. It’s hard to believe Kelsey is only a Junior and I would love to see him on the field this season as well as next but if he shows out once again it’s hard to believe a few scouts won’t have an eye on him, just as they did his father. Keith finished last year with a couple Honorable Mentioned nods for All-ACC teams and Phil Steele has already pegged Kelsey as a second team All-ACC player this year. As I get further into the countdown and start covering more and more defense players I’m getting amped up. It’s one thing to look on paper and say “we should have another good defensive team this year” and something completely different to go through each player individually and realize the collection of talent we throwing out there from the start, not to mention the potential of those behind them. Lots of people are targeting Burgess as the head of the linebacking monster, and I would have a tough time arguing against that, but Kelsey is a close second. The combination of the two, in fact, was recently ranked as the 8th best combo in football this year. Throw in the fresh blood of Fields and this group is going to be really good (no I didn’t forget Keith Brown, Nick Dawson-Brents, FamU, Trevon Young, Stacy Thomas, James Hearns or Isaac Stewart). I mentioned it last year but outside of the offense I pay the most attention to the linebackers. They drive the defense, make big plays in the middle of the field and most importantly act as an extension of the coaching staff. Since Charlie arrived back in 2010 the linebacking core has been very good and always compete as one of the best groups in the conference if not the country. Grantham has a new approach (3-4) that puts an even greater emphasis on the position and the battle for “best in conference” designation does not appear to be changing anytime soon.

Sweet Tweet:

Rumor has it there is a countdown going on somewhere to help pass the time Keith...maybe check that out.

Fifty five days my friend. Fifty five days.