Lumen Christi's Smith loves hockey but is destined for the gridiron
Six-foot-four, 300-pound Keegan Smith heads for the ice with his Lumen Christi hockey teammates.
Keegan Smith, who’s quite a presence in front of the opposing net, says his first love is hockey.
But football is his future.
And at 6-4 and 300 pounds, the Jackson Lumen Christi left wing has made more of an impact as an offensive lineman – a guard – on the gridiron.
“My eighth-grade year, I played AAA hockey for Compuware, and I was actually deciding to quit football and concentrate on hockey for the next couple of years,”
Smith told the Detroit News. “But my football coach, Hall of Fame coach Herb Brogan, said, ‘Keegan, you’re going to regret this for the rest of your life,’ so I just stuck it out and played both and I’m really happy I did.”
As is Brogan and the rest of the Lumen Christi football program.
Smith is the anchor of the offensive line that has paved the way for the school to win three consecutive MHSAA Division 6 state titles. He is also a three-star college recruit who already has multiple offers, including from Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), Bowling Green and Air Force while getting interest from Michigan State and Northwestern.
Smith can bench press 400 pounds and can do 22 reps with 225 pounds – a standard metric for football players.
On the ice he scored 10 goals last season as a sophomore but is just finding his way on the rink in 2018-19, due to hernia surgery following last fall’s football season. Smith and the rest of his Lumen Christi hockey teammates take on East Grand Rapids on Saturday in a Division 3 regional final at Patterson Ice Center in Grand Rapids.
Two of those teammates are also his fellow offensive linemen on the football team, tackle Hunter Denton and center Ian Moran.
“We have some state-championship guys who can skate a little bit, so they add a little toughness to our team,” Lumen Christi hockey coach Mike Wartella said. “It’s been a tradition at Lumen Christi. A lot of our guys are three-sport athletes, so we typically have four to eight guys on our team from the football team, and it usually takes a little while to get their hockey legs. ...
“Keegan has said ... when he’s visiting some of the football schools, when they say to him, ‘You play hockey?’ he says, ‘Yes, and I’m pretty good, too.’ I told his dad that I think he should keep playing since it helps his footwork for football. He moves well on the ice and we’re happy to have him.”
A few NFL players played a lot of hockey as youngsters, including Houston Texans superstar defensive lineman J.J. Watt (6-5, 288) and Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelcey (6-5, 260).