You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Local colleges

  • Mastodons sweep Buckeyes
    The set-up was similar and the outcome was the same, but the journey was a little different – and quicker – for the IPFW men’s volleyball team.
  • Sellan leads IPFW into tourney
    You can’t miss Andrew Sellan.In a crowd, he’s the one who stands 6-foot-5, and if you miss him that way, just look for the swirl of reddish-blond hair that crowns those 6 feet, 5 inches.
  • USF builds on veterans at linebacker
    The zenith for them came at the south end of a snow-dusted Kevin Donley Field, with their backs to the new weight room and the train tracks and – prophetically, it turned out – the cemetery beyond.
Advertisement
Saint Francis
vs. Taylor
When: Noon, Saturday
Radio: 1450 AM
Saint Francis freshman Akeim Kelsaw has adjusted well to the wingback position this season.

Freshman catching on in big way

Saint Francis WR Kelshaw posting veteran numbers in his first season

Photos courtesy of Aaron M. Suozzi Photography
Akeim Kelsaw is tied for the team lead with 34 receptions.

– It was one of those relaxed, early practices last year when quarterback Josh Miller saw the future of Saint Francis receiving.

“I remember the first summer he came in, and he made a spectacular, one-handed catch,” Miller said. “I was like, ‘This kid’s going to be good.’ ”

The “kid” is Akeim Kelsaw, and he’s the baby of the A-Team – the trio of A-list receivers with the names of Austin (Coleman), Aaron (Knight) and Akeim. And while Coleman is in his final season with the Cougars and Knight is a junior, Kelsaw – to the dismay of Saint Francis’ opponents through the 2015 season – is just beginning as a redshirt freshman.

Eight games into his collegiate career, Kelsaw is putting up veteran numbers. While he and Coleman share the team lead with 34 receptions, Kelsaw has been particularly effective over the past four games.

In a 25-13 Saint Francis victory that knocked defending NAIA champion Saint Xavier from its No. 1 status, he had seven catches for 93 yards. Two weeks later, against new No. 1 Marian, he had nine catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Against No. 5 William Penn, he had four catches, 32 yards. And last week in a 31-7 blowout of Siena Heights when the starters took a second half seat, Kelsaw caught three passes for 51 yards.

“The wingback position, he was unfamiliar with it because he’s more of an outside guy, but he’s developed wonderfully in the role that he’s playing,” Miller said.

“He’s been a big key to our offense. Our two slot receivers are him and Austin, and good luck trying to run with them in man coverage.”

And with the help of Coleman, the swagger is coming back to the former All-SAC player from Snider.

“I learned a lot from Coleman. We hang around a lot,” Kelsaw said. “I learned the little details. That’s what he keeps teaching me. Keep your head up. Don’t be scared. Don’t be shy. Don’t be afraid to do anything.

“The confidence came in spring ball. I was like if I get the swagger that I had in high school, I could do everything I did in high school, and that’s what I’m doing here.”

Kelsaw wasn’t a direct hit. After his final game at Snider, when he had 132 yards and three touchdowns in a regional loss to Fishers, there was a redshirt year of sitting at Saint Francis.

“It got him on strong ground academically and gave him a good start, getting accustomed to the system and learning,” Saint Francis coach Kevin Donley said.

Kelsaw, as he does with passes from Miller, took the year in stride.

“It helps you out a lot,” he said of the redshirt season. “It helps you get better in the classroom. It helps to get know everybody in the community around here and in the Saint Francis program. It’s a good feeling. You go through a year without playing football – almost two years – but it’s something you have to deal with.”

stwarden@jg.net

Advertisement