Prop 48 athletes are a thing of the past now, with changes to the way NCAA member schools can admit at-risk students, but a player that epitomizes why that old rule worked is former Husky linebacker Anthony Kelley. The former standout on the gridiron has become a standout in the classroom and, as he completes his Masters Degree this fall, he’s set to take on yet another educational endeavor.
“Right now I’m finishing up my masters in Education Leadership and Policy study and I got offered to go to law school, so I’ll be doing that in 2009,” Kelley told Dawgman.com recently. “I’m utilizing whatever resources I’ve got so after I finish my masters in January, I’ll be putting my application in to law school at U-Dub.”
Kelley grew up in Pasadena, Calif., in a gang neighborhood, not far from Rose Bowl Stadium. He didn’t start concentrating in the classroom until he started receiving recruiting letters due to his prowess on the gridiron.
Even though he didn’t qualify, Washington took a chance on Kelley and he enrolled under the old Prop 48 rule where a student could enroll even though they didn’t qualify and, after sitting out their freshman season so they could get their academics in order, they could earn a year back by graduating in four years.
After talking with former Husky assistant coach Tom Williams, Kelley decided to study abroad for a short period and now he annually accompanies athletes and regular students alike to foreign countries so they can experience a different culture and he said on athlete got a relatively rude awakening on their trip to South Africa.
“I took about 19 students to Port Elizabeth,” Kelley said. “I had about seven student athletes and some other students from campus. We had Johnie Kirton, Zach Johnson, Luke Kravitz, Erick Lobos and Desmond Davis with us.
“I had to laugh at Johnie a little,” Kelley said with a chuckle. “It was a real transformative experience for him to go to South Africa, especially as an African American, because they didn’t consider him black, they considered him white, so that was difficult for him to process, but it was a good experience for him and it helped him grow.”
Growing is something Kelley has done in his academic career, but as a father, he still manages to keep that youthful exuberance that allows him to have fun with his children as well as the players that he coaches on a volunteer basis.
“I am the biggest kid still out there,” Kelley admitted. “I still play X-Box 360 and basketball and stuff like that, but I’m doing a lot more papers right now because I’m in grad school, but it’s going well and I still manage to have a lot of fun.
“I’ve been doing a lot of volunteer work with youth track teams. I did Lake City football and Laurelhurst basketball, so I’m doing a lot of volunteer work, but I think I’m going to end up at the high school level this year. I’m looking at either Nathan Hale or Roosevelt because of the closeness so that I do football and track.”
Kelley is also a key component to Washington’s Summer Bridge Program, allowing him to stay in touch with the football team while also helping to guide student-athletes who may need some guidance before they start college classes.
“I’m still trying to support the guys and the program,” Kelley said. “This year I’m doing the Summer Bridge class, with the new, incoming freshman. I’ve been doing that every summer for the last three years now and it helps to get in their ears before they get on campus to get them some guidance before they start going.
“The thing is, we all miss the camaraderie and the players and the relationships that you develop and after we finish our time, everybody seems to go their separate ways, so I do miss the relationships that I had, but I like being involved with the program in a little way still.”
Whatever project or task Kelley chooses to take on next, there’s no doubting he’ll be successful. Just look at where he’s come from to where he is right now.