If you happened to catch Friday night’s game between East Carolina and Cincinnati (because what better way to kick off the weekend than watching AAC football on ESPN2?), you may have seen this eye-opening graphic come across your screen.
It’s common knowledge the Kelce brothers attended Cincinnati, but what we weren’t expecting was the revelation Jason began his college career, not as an offensive lineman, but as a running back. Though some may already be privy to that information (it’s briefly touched on in his Wikipedia entry), most casual fans weren’t, delighting in the idea of Kelce lining up as a 295-pound ball-carrier out of the backfield.
While Kelce ultimately pivoted to center—a heady play considering his current Hall-of-Fame trajectory and likely induction into the Eagles’ Ring of Honor—he was a standout running back in his high-school days, achieving all-area honors in his native Cleveland. Though Kelce was a bit of a late bloomer, receiving minimal recruiting interest (hence having to go the walk-on route), ESPN still lists him in their prospect database as a 220-pound tight end, which contradicts his profile on 247 Sports, where he’s labeled as a 240-pound inside linebacker.
Kelce’s positional versatility, though perhaps seen as a detriment early in his career (“jack of all trades, master of none,” as the saying goes), has largely worked to his advantage, displaying above-average athleticism for his size. He’s also been remarkably durable, appearing in 130 straight games dating back to 2014.
As fun as it would be to see Kelce used as a goal-line back a la Refrigerator Perry, the Eagles haven’t needed any help establishing the run this season, pacing the league in rushing touchdowns (16) while averaging a robust 148.8 yards per game on the ground.