Turpin Linebacker Likes UC

The Cincinnati football staff has talked about keeping the better local football players at home. This linebacker from Turpin High School fits that description.

Last season Turpin High School fielded probably its best football team ever as the Spartans were the #5 seed in the Division II playoffs.  Turpin built those computer points by going 9-1 with its only regular season loss coming at the hands of Division I state qualifier Glen Este by a 42-35 score.  Once in the state playoffs, Turpin proved it belonged by beating three teams including #1 seeded Edgewood High School before losing 22-9 to the eventual state champions, Piqua.  One of the leaders of that Spartan squad was Luke Kelly, a 6' 4"/210 pound All-FAVC linebacker.


Kelly and his family came to Cincinnati from the Windy City about eight years ago, but Luke's hasn't forgotten his roots.  When I met Luke, he was at a Bearcat spring practice wearing his Chicago Cubs' hat.  He talked about his loyalty to Chicago.  "Once you live in Chicago, you can't really get away from the Cubs and Bears.  A lot of people try to get me to be a Bengals' fan, but the Bears are just a hard nosed football team.  That's the way I am."  Luke described his style of play.  "I play from sideline to sideline, and when I get there, I'll hit you."  Spoken like one of the Monsters of the Midway. 


With his size, Luke could project at a number of positions.  He plays tight end in addition to linebacker at Turpin, but most colleges are recruiting him for the defensive side of the ball.  Luke used some phone calls from the previous night to illustrate the point.  "Actually West Virginia and Indiana contacted me last night, and they were talking to me about playing the defensive end position.  I'm pretty versatile.  Cincinnati is looking at me as their "Sam" linebacker, but I could play D-end there also."  Luke has no solid offers yet, but feels interest is on the rise.  "West Virginia and Indiana indicated they may offer me before I go to their camps.  Eastern Michigan came in today, and he said they would be the first to offer me.  Kentucky also has come in and seems high on me." 


Kerry Coombs and Ernest Jones are handling Luke's recruitment for the Bearcats.  "Earnest Jones is my recruiting coordinator, but I also talk to Kerry Coombs quite a bit.  I talked to them today."  Luke has been impressed with the Bearcats' recruiting.  "We just talk.  Ernest Jones is a very religious man, and he wants to hear about my family and find out what kind of person I am.  At UC, they seem really interested in your character and not just how good a football player you are."


Football seems to run in the Kelly family although Luke also plays basketball for the Spartans.  "I have two older brothers who play football in college.  One plays at Dayton and the other plays at Morehead State."  Luke's father is the assistant superintendent at Sycamore Local Schools, and apparently that's where Luke gets his football size.  "He's about the same size as me although he claims he's taller so I'll call him 6' 5".  He's about 260 or 270 pounds so he's a big guy."  One of the fall highlights for the Kelly family is when Morehead State plays Dayton.  The oldest brother Brian plays linebacker for the Flyers while Liam is a receiver for the Eagles.


Luke isn't concerned about what position he plays in college.  He just wants to play the game he loves at a Division I school.  "I like linebacker, but I just want to play on the Division I level, and I'm willing to do whatever I can.  I'm willing to play kicker if that's what it takes."  


The summer should be busy for Luke with all the senior camps.  "UC is my #1 because I'm from Cincinnati, and I'd love to play for UC.  But I'll also be at the Ohio State camp, Michigan State camp, Miami of Ohio, OU camp and the All-American combine.  I've been preparing for that.  Every day I'm out running on the track."  Luke last ran a timed 40-yard-dash as a sophomore and ran a 4.7.


The young man his friends call L-Rock plans to major in construction management.


Bearcat Insider will check back with Luke this summer.

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