On a team with a lot of inexperience and unknowns, Brent Celek isn't one of them. Athlon magazine named Celek to its 2nd team All Big East squad. That should surprise no one since this junior tight end was a 2nd team All C-USA pick last year as a sophomore. The sky's the limit for this LaSalle grad, but the NFL is still only a distant dream.
"One of my goals is to play in the NFL, but I try not to think about it right now. Instead, I'm trying to be the best college football player I can be. I know I'm only an injury away from not realizing that dream so I try not to think about it. If it happens for me, that‘s great."
Celek isn't a guy to rest on his laurels. He's spent the off season in the weight room working on getting better. "I've done well. I've gone up in all my lifts a decent amount, and I've added about 15 or 20 pounds of muscle." Brent now weights in the neighborhood of 265 pounds, benches 375 pounds and runs a 4.7 forty. In addition, he has some of the best hands on the team. He will be a major offensive force this season.
Since Brent is now one of the upperclassmen, he's had to take more of a leadership role on the team, especially with two freshmen tight ends, Kazeem Alli and Connor Barwin. "They're both good players, but they have a lot to learn in a short time. I'm trying to help them with that."
Brent was asked about the media picking the Bearcats to finish last in the Big East this season. He scoffed at the idea. " I don't really care. I guess the only place we can go is up."
Some message board visitors insist there is a rift between players recruited by the old staff and those recruited by the present coaches. Celek was recruited by the old staff and denies there are any such problems in the locker room. "No, it's not like that at all. If anything, it was more like that in the past. I guess there could always be a couple of exceptions that I'm not aware of, but everyone feels they're being treated fairly and getting a fair shot regardless of who recruited them."
Brent has four younger brothers and sisters and chose UC because he wanted to stay close to home. He emphasized that he is very happy with his decision. In fact, he hopes his brother, who is currently a junior offensive tackle at LaSalle, will follow Brent to UC. "He's a little on the smaller side right now (240 lbs.) and needs to put on some weight, but I think he can do it. If UC were to offer, definitely I'd like to see him come here." Having another Celek to replace Brent in a couple years doesn't sound bad at all.