Whitman-Hanson Regional High senior Jack Kelly has committed to play football at Bridgewater State University.
“Bridgewater State is a great school for education,” Kelly explained. “My father attended there, and I am going to be a physical education major.
“The coaches who recruited me were in constant communication with me all throughout the season, and immediately made me feel a part of the program. The coaches stressed academics just as much as they did football. College football is a big deal, but they are also preparing us for our careers and to be successful in life.”
Kelly said he began being recruited by the Bridgewater State coaching staff after the New England Elite Football Clinic at Bentley University in July.
“After meeting them at the camp, the coaches stayed in constant communication through email, text and phone calls throughout the season,” Kelly said. “After the coaches had me up for two games in the fall, that solidified that Bridgewater [State] was the perfect fit for me.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Kelly played two years for the Panthers, having moved to Whitman his junior year from Brockton, where he played his freshman and sophomore campaigns as a Boxer.
This past season, Kelly started at linebacker for the Panthers and recorded 47 tackles, seven for loss, and broke up three passes.
W-H football head coach Mike Driscoll lauded Kelly’s worth ethic.
“Jack was a very, very hard worker,” Driscoll said. “He really attacked the weight room hard last offseason to get stronger and that’s why we moved him to linebacker, because he played some defensive back for us, but he worked so hard in the weight room and got so strong that we knew we had a position for him and he earned it.”
Kelly said his most memorable tilt as a Panthers was Oct. 6 when W-H defeated Plymouth North, 28-24, in the last minute.
“They were a big, physical team, and as a defense we rose to the occasion and got many hard-fought stops in the second half, which allowed us to pull out a huge win late in the game,” Kelly said.
Driscoll said Bridgewater State is landing a hard-working kid, who is going to give it 100 percent every day in Kelly.
“He’s a smart kid, he’s a good kid,” Driscoll said. “They’re getting a well-rounded individual.”
Kelly said the two main facets of being successful at football he learned as a Panther were hard work and preparation.
“At Whitman-Hanson, the entire program bought into offseason workouts,” he said. Not only did it make us bigger, faster and stronger for the 2017 season, but it really brought us together and united us as a team. For me, as a linebacker on defense, coach [Keith] Sweeney had us thoroughly prepared week in and week out with film work and attention to detail every day at practice.”
Bridgewater State, which competes in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference of NCAA Division III, finished 2-8 last season.
“College football will be a big adjustment, going from playing against boys to playing against men,” Kelly said. “However, having played for many great coaches along the way, I will be ready for the next change in my football career.”