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Bradshaw Mountain’s Mike Kelley excited for future at Lake Forest College

Bradshaw Mountain’s Mike Kelley excited for future at Lake Forest College
Mike in Lake Forest College Football Jersey. (Courtesy: Doug McPheters) 

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — Mike Kelley has lived in Prescott Valley his entire life and played middle linebacker and left guard for the Bradshaw Mountain High School Bears football team during the 2021 season.  Mike is only the second Bradshaw Mountain High School wrestler in the school’s history to win a personal Arizona wrestling title.  Mike was recently honored as “Bear of the Month’ by his high school, a recognition akin to “Student of the Month.”  Mike also works as a school aide at the school.

Mike will soon be graduating with scholastic honors from Bradshaw Mountain High School and plans to attend Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois, where he will continue to play football with a significant scholarship while studying physical therapy.

Awards for Athletes at PV Town Council. (Courtesy: Doug McPheters)

The normal football season for Bradshaw Mountain High School is ten games – eleven in 2021 because the team reached playoffs, fewer in 2020 because of mandates. The season begins with practice in July and games through December if playoffs are reached.

Mike’s sports life began with playing soccer before turning to football in the second grade. He started wrestling in the seventh grade in order to supplement his football skills and training.  Mike will be going to college to play football but will not be able to continue with a wrestling program there.  Lake Forest College will soon be sending him football programs in preparation for its season starting this August.

Mike first met the football coach from Lake Forest College at a football camp suggested by Mike’s high school coach.  The recruiting process didn’t really start until after the end of the Bears’ 2021 season.  Several colleges expressed interest in him – that involved looking at films of his games and talking with Bradshaw Mountain High School administrators and teachers about his academic and personal lives. The grades Mike achieved made a big difference, as he puts it “these schools were interested in a good all-around person, not just a good athlete.”  Mike also applied to other schools including NAU because he was awarded the Lumberjack Scholarship, Fort Lewis in Colorado, Puget Sound in Washington and University of Laverne in California.

National Signing Day for college football is in early February. Mike made his decision in late March, which might have offered him a disadvantage in case spots were gone by that time.  Mike picked Lake Forest College because it made him feel at home almost like being in Prescott Valley – he plans to keep his friends here.

Mike’s advice to those interested in college sports: start in early high school by reaching out to desirable colleges.

The faculty at Bradshaw Mountain High School was very helpful to Mike’s cause, both coaches and teachers.  Mike also participates in Sportsman classes, involved in nutrition, physical therapy and helping other athletes.  Some athletes known to Mike attend junior colleges to begin college football and then may have the opportunity to move on to football programs at four-year institutions.  Mike also urges young people to become used to doing things on time, for example completing homework so you can get enough rest to deal with the physical challenges of practice and training, as Mike puts it, “trying to not stress out.”

Mike’s only notable injury has been a broken leg during his freshman season which stimulated his interest in physical therapy.

He’s excited about the challenges and opportunities presented by attending college half way across the country.

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