Winston-Salem State has Kee to success
Published 9:41 pm Thursday, August 7, 2014
It can be nice having a reputation that precedes you.
Justin Kee of Suffolk has ensured through his performance on the gridiron that his own coaches and those of opposing teams are anticipating him to be a formidable presence on the offensive line during this coming college football season.
Kee, a rising senior at Winston-Salem State University, has been selected to the preseason All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association team, his first-ever All-CIAA honor.
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“It was a great accomplishment that I got chosen for it,” he said. “I worked hard for it.”
To form the preseason All-CIAA team, Winston-Salem State coach Kienus Boulware said each coach in the conference is given an opportunity to recommend some of his own players. Then opposing coaches vote on those candidates based on who they remember being a difference-maker in games prior.
“Justin Kee evidently made enough noise on the field last year to get the attention of the other conference schools,” Boulware said.
Kee said, “To be honest, I was shocked.”
He missed the last four games of the 2013 regular season and the first round of the playoffs due to a sprained ankle. However, he figured his performances in the first six games of the season made a good and strong impression.
He also helped the Rams, as a team, make a strong impression. The CIAA Football Coaches Association released its Predicted Order of Finish, and Winston-Salem State has been picked to repeat as Southern Division champion and is the favorite to win the CIAA crown.
Last year, the squad finished 10-2 overall, 7-0 in the CIAA and made it three years in a row advancing to at least the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
The Rams have a talented team, evidenced by Kee being one of seven Winston-Salem State players to make the preseason All-CIAA team. Nevertheless, Kee has a distinguishing attribute that Boulware noted.
“He’s the strongest athlete on the team right now,” the coach said.
Kee said he lifts weights consistently and has been doing so for a while now, needing only to top the man he sees in the mirror.
“I just push myself just to out-work myself each and every day,” he said. “I really don’t compete with too many people.”
Boulware said Kee also brings maturity and leadership skills to the team.
“We haven’t selected team captains yet, but he’s a good candidate for one,” the coach said.
Kee will play strictly as an offensive lineman, though he started his career with the Rams on the defensive line.
Before that, he played both defensive and offensive tackle for Lakeland High School.
After receiving the preseason All-CIAA honor, Kee said he is motivated to validate the award and to “make sure I have the same accolades at the end of the season.”
He said he aims to be a consistent leader, “helping my teammates be the best that they can be,” and helping the team win a national championship.
Winston-Salem State University will open the season at home on Sept. 6 against The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.