Keith Kelsey was UofL’s leading tackler in 2015. He has 107 tackles, including three and a half sacks. Those numbers were good enough for the linebacker to be voted All-ACC by the media. The Gainesville, Fla., native has started 28 straight games. His father, Keith Sr., played linebacker at the University of Florida and was a members of the Gators 1996 National Championship team.
How big of a Florida fan were you as a kid?
I was a huge Florida fan since my dad played there. I didn’t know anything else but Florida, being around the campus and stuff.
What did you know about Louisville before the recruiting process started?
I didn’t know much. I used to watch them a lot for basketball and stuff, and then I started seeing how they started winning with Teddy Bridgewater and Coach Strong. That’s when I started watching and got very interested.
What is the best part about playing in a defense coached by Todd Grantham?
He knows a lot about football. You get to do a lot of different things that they actually do at the next level, in the NFL. It’s pretty interesting. He’s teaching me something new every day.
How difficult or easy was the decision to come back for your senior season?
It was very confusing at first, but something kind of told me to come back. I’ll get my degree as well, and then we’ve got a chance to do something special – like we’re starting off fast – so that played a lot into it as well.
How would you describe your feelings toward Florida State?
No comment. I’ll just wait until we play them.
What do you key in on on each play?
Whatever we got on that assignment. Depending on what the play is, what the formation is that the offense is running.
Who is the best hitter on the defense?
You know I’m going to say me. We all hit – everybody on the defense hits.
Why do you wear No. 55?
I don’t really know. I stuck with it my freshman year, and then my dad said, “Double Nickel,” one game, and that kind of stuck with me when he said it. And then I started playing good, so I was like, “5-5 is the number.” A lot of people wore it, like Derrick Brooks. I actually wore 52 in high school because I love Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis, all those guys. I actually wanted it when I got here, but somebody already had it.
What is your relationship like with your dad?
I have a very strong relationship with him. He’s my best friend and my dad at the same time. We get along and we gel well.
Does he critique every game?
Every play, let alone every game, every play. I can have 21 tackles, but he’ll talk about the two that I missed and what I didn’t do to get the other ones. VT