Middle Tennessee free safety Jeremy Kellem enjoyed a standout season in 2008 and the junior from North Lauderdale (Fla.) Deerfield Beach is primed for another big year in 2009.
He sat down with GoMiddle.com for three questions about his game and this year's team.
Q: Coach Diaz says the football is drawn to you like a magnet. Have you always been that way and do you see your role on defense as being the playmaker that is always around the ball?
A: First off I always want to thank the Lord. Do I see myself as a playmaker? Yeah I would say so. That is just my mindset. In little league I played offense and when I played running back I scored touchdowns. Once I got to high school I got one opportunity my senior year to play offense, but I dropped a pass so I had to go back to defense. My mentality is to just always want the ball. I just like to touch the ball. Even in practice I just like to hold the ball and feel the ball, whether I can get it by interception, fumble recovery, forced fumble, blocked punt or field goal, just any way I can touch the ball. To me, whoever has the ball the most wins the game so if we take the ball away from the offense we have a better chance of winning the game so that's just how I look at playing the game and playing free safety. I want the ball. If you can get the ball enough you will win games, like Florida did last year. I think they led the nation in picks and they won the national championship.
Q: Everybody is back in the secondary from last season and a lot is expected of you all as a group. Is this the best secondary you've been a part of?
A: I think it is a closer group. When I got here we had two seniors, Damon Nickson and Bradley Robinson. Then we had Suber who was a third year guy I think. We were all scattered. Now we have all been here and playing together for a year we have a full season of experience. I like to call us the state of Florida back there because all of us in the secondary are from Florida. Even backups like Derrick Crumpton are from Florida, so I think we are all real close which I think makes us better. I think this is one of the best secondaries I have been a part of since I have been here.
GETTING TO KNOW JEREMY KELLEM
Sports hero: Santana Moss
Favorite movie: Drumline
Dream job: NFL player
Biggest life influence: Mom and Dad
Favorite car: Saturn
Q: All of your coaches seem to genuinely feel that this team is full of great guys that are fun to work with. How does this team's chemistry on and off the field feel to you?
I think when I first got here my freshman year I think the team was broken off into some cliques here or there. Last year we got closer but we still didn't get the results of being a close team. I think this year we are much closer. We joke around and play around. Everybody knows everybody and nobody is too sensitive. That is one thing Coach Diaz has told us in meetings is to not be too sensitive. We joke around and play around but once we get on the field we've all got to play for each other for one purpose and that is to win the conference outright, go to a bowl game, and win it.