Former Carmel Catholic lineman Tommy Kelly loses big to anchor Lake Forest offensive line
Tommy Kelly was willing to sacrifice a few of his cravings for home-cooked meals to have a chance at getting what he really wanted.
Over his first two seasons, the former Carmel linemen's collegiate career at Lake Forest was going nowhere fast until he came to the realization that less could mean more for him.
“I loved the game so much, but I wasn’t playing much,” Kelly told the Chicago Tribune. “I was one of the slower offensive linemen on the team in my freshman and sophomore years.”
That all changed over roughly a two-month period when he dropped 40 pounds to go from 320 to 280 pounds, making him more suitable for the Foresters spread offense.
“In college, when you go home, you get a lot of home-cooked meals and you put on weight,” Kelly said. “I had to concentrate on portion control."
Kelly’s commitment has paid dividends. Now at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, he’s started all four games for Lake Forest (2-2) this season and is considered one of the anchors of the offensive line.
“He’s been grading out good pretty consistently, not giving up a sack in four games,” Forester coach Jim Catanzaro told the Tribune. “He’s really tough and been productive and even taking a leadership role on the offensive line. Before this season, he was too big for his body to be in the spread offense. He slimmed down and got faster.”
For Kelly, it’s all about just giving himself the best chance to continue doing what he enjoys most.
“I just wanted to keep playing the game I loved,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t done, just because I didn’t play much in high school. It’s great to be helping the team. I’m a much different player now. I feel way faster, can get to places that I never got to before and can move as fast some defensive linemen and linebackers.”