Alex Kanellis has been a known commodity to Iowa Hawkeye fans for some time now, as he committed to the hometown school back in October of 2003.
Since that announcement, Kanellis won a 215-pound state wrestling championship in Iowa and has been working on putting the weight back onto his 6-foot-4 frame for the coming football and wrestling seasons.
Kanellis took part in the Nike Camp in Iowa City this past weekend, and according to many people in attendance, including Hawkeyenation.com's Josh Clark, Kanellis put on quite a show.
"Yeah, I felt that I did alright," the humble Kanellis said. "I sort of knew what to expect with the camp from things I have heard. It was a good atmosphere. I am around 245 to 250-pounds right now and I did pretty well in some of the drills."
The drills Kanellis was speaking of were the sprints (he told us he ran sub 4.7 40-times) and the one on one o-line/d-line drills where he had no problems getting around offensive linemen to a tackling dummy that represented an opposing quarterback.
Quickness has always been one of his strengths, and when asked what his ideal football playing weight might be, that figured into his answer.
"I have never had any problem putting weight on…that is a tough question to answer. I just try to make sure that I add all muscle. I would never sacrifice any of my speed to put on weight." Kanellis said.
"No matter what weight I have played at, I have always had an advantage with my quickness, and I think that is an important thing to maintain."
Hearing that answer will make many Iowa fans think about the hallmark of Iowa's Strength and Conditioning program, which has put a lot of mass on its players without sacrificing speed and/or quickness. Kanellis is looking forward to being tutored by Iowa Strength Coach Chris Doyle starting in February after he signs his letter of intent.
"No question. I think Coach Doyle is the best in the country. I can't wait to play football, but I also can't wait to get into the weight room with coach Doyle. I am so excited for the strength and conditioning aspect of it." Kanellis said.
Another aspect of his Hawkeye future that excites Kanellis is simply being a Hawkeye and running out onto the Kinnick Stadium for the first time.
"I live just down the street from Kinnick. I have lived here my whole life. People park at my house and walk to the games. I have never missed a home football game. I get goose bumps just thinking about it (running out of the tunnel)."
Kanellis will wrestle this coming season, but he will not be defending his 215-pound championship. Cutting the weight to get to 215-pounds is not an option just months before he begins his Hawkeye football career, so he will be moving up to the heavyweight position.
"I cut about 30-35 pounds last year and it was not fun. You have to cut all of the fat out of your diet, because the energy that you are getting through the little food you eat, it has to be healthy. I hardly ate anything at all. Salads, tuna and grapefruit; and a lot of it. Then you have to workout extremely hard, burning more calories than you are taking in." Kanellis said.
"It's a lot easier to enjoy the season when you are not dealing with all of that other stuff, so I welcome the move to heavyweight. I felt like I would have won heavyweight this year. A lot of those big guys are not as quick as the 215-pounders. 215 is actually a tougher weight class."
Kanellis told us that he has not been told by the Iowa coaches as to what side of the line he will playing on, only that he knows he will be in a three-point stance.
Kanellis had the following to say to Josh Clark back in April:
"I like playing defense, but those coaches know what they are doing. Their track record and proven success speaks for itself. It excites me to know the possibility of playing for the best offensive line school and knowing that guys get drafted. I certainly would have to listen if the coaches felt I belonged there."
No matter which side of the line he ends up on, Iowa's current lone commitment for the class of 2005 is certain of one thing.
"Having the opportunity to play football for the Iowa Hawkeyes is a lifelong dream come true."