Getting To Know Kyle Karempelis
Posted on Nov 3, 2011 by Ryan Scates |
Updated Thurs. at 5:30 p.m. with new quotes
Lost in all the speculation over the circumstances surrounding the recent suspensions of Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas and Ken Malcome has been a focus on exactly who is eligible to play in Georgia’s homecoming tilt against New Mexico State. Waiting in the wings, eating up reps on the scout team has been Kyle Karempelis, a true Freshman from Roswell who etched his name in the high school record books alongside Herschel Walker during his time at the Wesleyan School in Norcross.
The last time Karempelis took the line of scrimmage in Athens, it was just outside Loop 10 at Athens Academy’s Slaughter Field. In a 2010 playoff game that didn’t start until 10:45 because a bank of lights wouldn’t turn on, Karempelis ran around the Spartans like they were still in the dark. He finished that game with 23 carries, 236 yards and 4 TDs.
Full disclosure here: I have had a particular interest in watching Karempelis develop this year. His two older brothers, Peter and Matt are my fraternity brothers and we have had a blast watching him compete for a Varsity letter this year for the Dawgs.
I recently caught up with Peter, a second year med student at the new MCG Athens campus and Matt, a Senior in the Terry College of Business to get some insight on what Georgia fans should know before seeing #33 line up at tailback. If you hear Brook Whitmire, voice of Sanford Stadium, belt out “Karempelis the ballcarier” on Saturday, be sure to glance up to Section 309 to see Peter and Matt beaming with pride for their hard-nosed baby-brother.
1. For someone who has never seen your brother play live, describe Kyle’s running style.
Matt- I might be biased because I am his brother, but if you have never seen him play, you are in for a treat. His fans in high school loved to watch him play not just because he is considered one of the greatest in GA high school history, but the way he lives his life both on and off the field is second to none. A common viewer might say he had close to 7000 all purpose yards and 93 touchdowns in high school, but he sees it as 93 unique opportunities to praise the Lord for the ability to do something that he absolutely loves. His quiet, servant-like character makes him a role model for all ages, for I can’t even begin to explain to you how much I look up to him. The kid lives his life is in a way that his coaches preach, and I can’t wait for him to get a shot that he so humbly deserves. There isn’t a player on the team that deserves a shot more than Kyle.
Looking back on his high school career, I think the game that exemplified his talent in the truest form was on November 26th, 2010 when he played and defeated fellow teammate Nick Marshall and Wilcox County in the State Playoffs. Kyle was an energized machine during the game. He had 42 carries with over 300 yards rushing and 3 TDs and lead his team to a huge playoff win. He ran over people, blocked well, and straight up proved that he brings his best for the big games. Saturday will be one of those games where he brings his best.
Peter- In my opinion, Kyle’s greatest strengths as a running back are his vision, balance, strength, and quickness. He has an incredible ability to shift laterally without losing much speed at all. Kyle may not be the biggest guy on the field, but that doesn’t phase him at all. His strength is often overlooked—he works HARD in everything he does and the weight room is another place where he excels. There are no excuses for Kyle; there is simply hard work, preparation, and doing his best on every play. He just plays. He blocks out the world around him, focuses on his task, utilizes all of his abilities to the fullest capacity, and finds a way to make positive things happen for his team. There is no “me” when it comes to Kyle; it’s about the team and what he can bring to the table to help his team win.
I would say that one of his best games twas the state championship game in 2008 when Wesleyan defeated former Bulldog Washaun Ealey and ECI 36-21. Kyle was only a sophomore, but he proved to everyone watching that he was the real deal. He ended up with 3 touchdowns, 139 yards rushing, a blocked punt, I think that a lot of people began to recognize that Kyle was a special athlete at the conclusion of this game.
2. Who would win in a fight, you or your brother?
Matt- Absolutely hate admitting it, but I would have to say that Kyle most likely kill me right now. I would love to say that it would be a close fight but I honestly think it would be pretty quick. Kyle has a work ethic of a true champion and had the pleasure of training with an intense trainer, the current Athletic Director at Wesleyan, for his entire 4 year career at Wesleyan. Coach Khedouri prepared him very well for the intense workout that Coach T puts them through, but Kyle has still put on around 10 pounds since he has been at UGA, now I believe he is hovering close to 190 pounds. I weigh around 180, but he looks like a ball of iron compared to me. It is crazy to look back at his sophomore state championship year where he weighed around 160 and could barely power clean 185 pounds to where he is now, around 190 where he can hang clean around 330 pounds, bench 345, and squat around 400. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was pound for pound one of the strongest players on the team, a tribute to his supermanlike work ethic, the lofty goals that he sets for himself, and the trainers that have pushed him along the way.
Peter- This is a tough question because I have the “older brother” advantage; however, taking a little more realistic perspective, Kyle would probably destroy me. Not surprisingly, Kyle has continued to work incredibly hard to become a better player. I know that he has gained around 10-15 pounds since starting camp and is close to weighing around 190. I currently weigh around 180 and have a couple inches on him, but I can pretty much guarantee that Kyle has quite a bit more power that I do at this point.
3. In your opinion, who will be more nervous at kickoff, your family or your brother?
Matt- It would be a lie to say that Kyle won’t be nervous, but it would also be a lie to say that he will be more nervous than our family. He will be ready, he has been focused all week. He trusts in God’s plan and knows that what happens is all in His plan. Kyle will still be a little nervous, but he has proven from his past that when he is nervous, he performs at his best. I will be beyond nervous, I honestly might pass out in the stands and cry if he gets in. The mixed emotions of pride, love, and excitement that I will be feeling will just be incredible.
Peter- I’m sure Kyle will be a little anxious at kickoff, but I think my family will be more nervous than he is. We are a close family that always encourages and supports each other and Saturday will be no different. Matt and I will be sick to our stomachs with anxiety because we always want the best for Kyle. As a comfort, we know that God rewards those who are faithful and honorable to Him, and He will take care of everything. In his typical fashion, Kyle will block out everything else that is going on around him and just play. He will rise to the occasion, adjust what he needs to, and help his team any way he can. Kyle has a knack for sneaking in under the radar, being extremely successful in what he is asked to do, not say a word about it, and get back to work in order to improve for the next time he is called upon.
4. Have you given Kyle any advice in preparation for Saturday?
Matt- I tried not to be that annoying brother all week, but I have snuck in a few encouraging texts and phone calls. I have told him to stay focused, get plenty of sleep, and to turn off his phone. My phone has been blowing up all week and I can’t imagine what he has been like. I have also continuously told him how proud I am of him, however my pride would never change even if he never set foot on the field. Come game time I will tell him to just do his thing, refuse to go down, pop of fast if you do go down, hit the hole hard, and continue to give all the glory to God. I also always tell him that I will be up there in the stands, proud as ever. Coach Richt might have said, " I like him, he is a tough kid," well I personally love him, he is tougher than nails, and I will honestly probably cry if he gets a chance to tote the rock.
Peter- For the most part, I have tried to sit back and not pester Kyle. He knows how to handle the situation. Kyle knows how to take care of his body, get plenty of rest, not listen to what anybody is saying, and prepare his mind. Kyle’s character and integrity are second to none and he will never falter from that foundation. Sure, I’ve talked to him a little bit—the majority of my communication with him has been to simply send a few texts with encouraging Bible verses to remind him of what God is doing in his life and to give him peace. When I do get to talk to him, I try to end the conversations by reminding him to “just play, just like you always do, and have fun.” Kyle knows that I love him and will be proud of him no matter what happens on Saturday, even if he doesn’t see one play. Matt, Kyle, and I have been a band of brothers since we were little, and no situation could ever change that. I know that he will be ready to play on Saturday.
5. What do you think we should expect from Georgia’s running game on Saturday?
Matt- If I were Coach Bobo I would probably be pretty conservative. I would start Harton, he is older and has game experience, but I would definitely give Kyle a shot decently early in the game. God rewards the faithful. Kyle has worked his butt off ever since he first picked up a ball, and he deserves this shot. I think he has the potential to turn some heads. The kid can play. I also expect that Coach Richt will actually be able to spell our last name by the end of the game.
Peter- Well, I will start by saying I am no coaching expert, and I respect the coaches for all their all the hard work that they put in each and every week to prepare for the games. If I had to guess, I would imagine that we will see Harton start since he is an older, more experienced back. From what I understand, I think Kyle will get to play, and I know that he will be ready. Kyle will most likely surprise some people—he is truly a gifted athlete and fun to watch.
Kyle is definitely such a great talent. He is such a an amazing athlete and student. We need more great players like this. He is a good one. Massage Therapist in Toronto
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