Center Grove QB Kellams looking to make believers at IU as preferred walk-on

Fourteen games as Center Grove’s starting quarterback got Jack Kellams thinking about his athletics future.

After completing 58 percent of his pass attempts with one interception for the Class 6A runners-up in his only season behind center, the senior began tailoring his offseason training regimen specifically for football.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Kellams, a pitcher for the Trojans the past two baseball seasons, chose not to play this spring. In August, he begins his career at Indiana University as a preferred walk-on for the football program.

A preferred walk-on has basically been guaranteed a roster spot by the college coach for the upcoming season.

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“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make after the success we had my sophomore and junior seasons,” said Kellams, who completed his junior baseball season with a 7-0 record and 2.37 ERA for a club that advanced to the semistate.

“Mechanically, I wanted to be able to throw a football and not throw it like a baseball,” he said.

This had been an obstacle for Kellams in the past, since he usually went immediately from completing a baseball season to preseason conditioning and drills with his Center Grove football teammates.

Pitching a baseball and throwing a football require entirely different follow-throughs, he said.

In February, Kellams began weekly hour-long instructional sessions with Anthony Morelli, owner and head trainer at X-Factor Sports Performance & QB Academy in Westfield.

Morelli, a quarterback at Penn State University from 2004-07, works with high school quarterbacks in and around Indianapolis. He understands the components it takes — physically and mentally — to be a quarterback for a Big Ten Conference program.

Kellams’ ability to throw a football both far and with accuracy never was in question.

Well-versed in quarterbacking a run-dominated offense such as the wing-T Center Grove uses, Kellams has much to absorb about the Hoosiers’ shotgun-heavy scheme.

“Jack has a big-time arm. He can make all the throws, and his accuracy is very impressive,” Morelli said. “If you want to play in the Big Ten, you have to have good footwork. You have to be able to take snaps from under center and in the shotgun.

“He’s a very hard-working young man. He’s made a lot of progress very fast.”

He was Center Grove’s second-team signal-caller in 2014 and 2015 and threw for 1,151 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He shined brightest in a regular-season victory against Cathedral with career bests of 212 yards and five TDs.

When the games mattered most in the postseason, he completed 27 of 38 attempts for 385 yards.

Kellams meets with Morelli every Thursday from 8 to 9 p.m. and works out five days a week at Center Grove with former Trojans teammate and Ball State preferred walk-on Trevor Hohlt.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to Kellams throwing passes to Hohlt, who is running a variety of routes and distances. The two run and lift weights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Kellams was offered a football scholarship by Thomas More College, a Division III program in Crestview Hills, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati, and received interest from both Monon Bell rivals, Wabash and DePauw.

He wanted to aim higher.

A 3.18 student, Kellams will major in business at Indiana. He joins four other former Johnson County players on the Hoosiers’ 2017 preseason roster — senior kicker Griffin Oakes of Greenwood and former Trojans Gavin Everett (defensive lineman), Drew Conrad (punter) and Nathaniel Snyder (kicker).

“They believe my ceiling is very high if I work hard. I’ve had a lot of people who are excited that I’m taking this step,” Kellams said. “I’m behind right now, but I was a little behind in high school, too, and had to wait my turn.

“I believe that once I understand the system that I can compete with anyone they have down there.”

By the numbers

BEST FOR LAST

A statistical look at what Jack Kellams accomplished as a quarterback at Center Grove:

Season;Comp.;Att.;Yds.;TD

2014;2;4;21;0

2015;1;3;13;0

2016;75;127;1,151;14

Totals;78;134;1,185;14

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.