Kelsey becoming face of Louisville defense

Cardinal Authority is counting down the days until the University of Louisville football team starts the season on Sept. 5 against Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A Classic at the Georgia Dome. It's 97 days until the season begins and we look at junior linebacker Keith Kelsey.

It seems like just yesterday that Keith Kelsey, a linebacker out of Gainesville (Fla.) High School was making his college announcement. With cameras rolling, the No.33 ranked middle linebacker in his class caused social media to explode when he jokingly picked up a Kentucky hat before tossing it aside for the Louisville cap.

Since that moment, Kelsey has left his talking for the field and in three quick years, he's becoming the face of a highly-rated Cardinals defense.

Playing behind a talented group of linebackers as a freshman in 2013, linebacker Keith Kelsey's ability to make a big play and his desire to become a difference-maker helped him see time in 12 contests his rookie year.

Earning the opportunity to start as a sophomore, Kelsey flourished. He finished the program's first season in the ACC as the team's second leading tackler, totaling 87 stops, including six sacks.

As the 2015 season approaches and the many preseason magazines hit the stands, it is Kelsey that graces the cover of Athlon Magazine's preseason ACC edition for those in the Louisville area.

Kelsey's secret to success? Show up and work hard.

“I just like to come to work to every day,” he said. “I'm not a talk guy. I just go out there and do what I have to do. Whatever my coaches or teammates need me to do, I'll run out there and do it.”

This spring, that including becoming more of a leader for a defense that lost seven starters from last fall.

“I know that I'm an upperclassman now, so I have to be more vocal out there on the field,” he said as the team began spring drills.

His presence on the field was notable. As has been the case since he recorded three tackles in his debut against Ohio in 2013. Filling his role as both an inside linebacker and an on the field leader, the the first team defense was hard-hitting and capped spring off with a shout in the Red-White game.

While pleased with the performance, Kelsey immediately spoke like the leader his coaches need him to be.

“There's always room for improvement,” he said. “I can communicate more and help coach Grantham out more.”

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