Monday, August 26, 2013

2014 WR's Kief & Fuller: History of the Twin Towers & Feeling Fuller #LRD

La Salle Lancers, WR Derek Kief & WR Izaiah Fuller aka the Twin Towers
The Twin Towers: La Salle Lancers, WR Derek Kief & WR Izaiah Fuller
Six football seasons ago (yea, around here, everything is about football), 2014 WR and Alabama commit Derek Kief and 2014 WR and college prospect Izaiah Fuller played together at La Salle's Lancer Stadium for the very first time. Actually, let's rewind, I am getting a little ahead of myself.

Roughly twenty football seasons ago, give or take a season or two, Kelly Kief (now Ceasar) and her family were living in Columbus, Ohio. Kelly's father, Pat Kief, took a new job back in their hometown of Cincinnati. After moving back, Kelly enrolled as a Junior in the Diamond Oaks School of Cosmetology. It was not long after she started attending before she had met and became very close friends with Ronicole Jordan (now Hyman).

Throughout their time at Diamond Oaks, they were like two peas in a pod. They were so close in fact, when Kelly was in the hospital after giving birth to Derek, Ronicole came to visit her. While she was there supporting her friend and meeting Derek for the first time, Ronicole shared with Kelly that she was pregnant with Izaiah. Try to top that day one friend!

Although, just as all first time parents have experienced, a new baby can be quite the shock to your lifestyle. Considering that both Kelly and Ronicole became new mothers only months apart, it is not at all surprising that they lost touch with each other.

Now, lets fast forward back to the very first time Derek and Izaiah played on the same field together. What I failed to mention earlier, they were playing against each other in the annual Gravy Bowl. In fact, Derek had no idea that his day one was standing on that same field as him. During warmups, an overly excited mother rushed the field and ran up to Derek. "WHERE IS YOUR MOM?!?", she so franticly asked. If you know Ronicole, I know you just got a mental picture of her, facial expressions and all!

As you can imagine, Derek was thinking, "who is this lady?" Heck, he probably even thought he was in trouble for something. After she provide a quick explanation, Derek pointed out where his mom was sitting in the stands and he directed his focus back to preparing for the game.

2014 La Salle Lancer and team
captain Morgan Willcox
While Izaiah and Derek didn't score against each other that game, Izaiah was certain that his team, the Little Cards, laid the smack down on the Eagles. Izaiah did remember one offensive weapon in addition to Derek that the Little Cards had a hard time containing, 2014 La Salle Lancer and team captain, Morgan Willcox.

Regardless of who won or who lost (Izaiah will remind you that they won!), what matters to this particular story is that the music between Ronicole and Kelly played once again like it never skipped a beat. It wasn't long after the Gravy Bowl before the two families gathered together to catch up on the old times, and start making the new times. Since then, theses two families or as we simply call it, the family, have been inseparable. 

Izaiah eventually transferred to Our Lady of Grace (OLG) and they had the opportunity to graduate from OLG together following their 8th grade year. Just as they did then, in a few short months they will be graduating together once again, this time from La Salle.

Just like I did when I interviewed Morgan Willcox, I started asking Derek and Izaiah a lot of questions. Below is a compilation of those efforts.

Derek Kief:

2014 WR's Derek Kief & Izaiah Fuller at the 2013 scrimmage vs. Centerville
2014 WR's Derek Kief & Izaiah Fuller
at the 2013 scrimmage vs. Centerville
It is crazy how your mom and Izaiah's mom were close friends in high school and now here you and Izaiah are as Seniors together at the same high school. On a personal level, what can you say about your friendship with Izaiah? Izaiah and I have been best friends since about 7th grade. People often call us the twin towers.

Now to football, why will Izaiah be important to the success of the team this year? Izaiah will be important to the team because with he and I, it gives us height on both sides. This will cause match up problems and will be difficult to defend.

How has Izaiah positively influenced and/or impacted you personally that has resulted in you improving your skills and/or work ethic? Izaiah has positively impacted me in many ways. Having a person comparable to me in size pushes me to work hard in the weight room everyday. In my opinion, it has helped us become who we are today.

If you had to sum up Izaiah in a single word, what would it be?  Driven. Izaiah knew he had to buckle down this year in chasing a scholarship, and I noticed this change. He began working harder than I had ever seen him before and this even carried over into the weekend. He began straying away from the fun things, and started working toward what was really important to him.

Izaiah Fuller:

What are a few descriptive words that you could give me to sum up who Izaiah Fuller is? Determined, focused, ambitious.

2014 WR and college prospect Izaiah Fuller is focused!
2014 WR and college prospect Izaiah Fuller is focused!
I have watched you play football for many years. What drives your passion for the game? I love the game of football, having fun and knowing any play can be my last drives my passion for the game.

What is your philosophy on preparation and training and what have you been working on to prepare for your Senior season?  I have worked mostly on my speed and route running ability I understand to play the position I play (WR) those 2 attributes are crucial. I have worked my butt of this offseason to be a better player for my team so we can succeed.

Most spectators think a wide receiver only run routes and catches the ball. Considering the commitment you have made in your preparation and training, explain how this has improved your blocking game and why blocking is a critical component to the success of your team…  Its improved my blocking tremendously. I am much stronger than last season. While I am not the perfect blocker and still have room for improvement, I have made a significant improvment from last season. I am a physical receiver and my goal is to dominate opponents.

What motivates you to strive to be successful on the field?  What motivates me is to be the best football player I can possibly be.

Talk about your relationship with your teammates, coaches and what you feel will be special about the upcoming season? We as team have grown much closer. I feel we are more than just a team,
we are a family. This upcoming season will surely be one to remember. We have new coaches and a new mindset. I can't wait for it to kick-off.

A lot of people doubt La Salle can make an impact in the GCL, while a select few BELIEVE. Tell me why you believe and what goals you and your team have for this year. I BELIEVE we will be great. We have worked too hard and too long to not be GCL Champions. Personally, I BELIEVE we can be State Champions.

What are you currently working on and need to continue to work on to take your game to the next level? I am currently working on the little things like my mechanics. I have a lot of things I want to improve on, my strength and speed. Those are big ones I need to continue working on.

2014 WR Izaiah Fuller in scrimmage vs. Centerville
I have heard from various sources that coaches are anxious to see highlights of your first few games and it is only a matter of weeks before you receive your first offer. What schools have you been talking with? A lot of schools, mainly the MAC and the Big Ten.

That seems like an awful lot of stress and pressure you are under to perform. Are you looking to prove something to show these coaches why they should offer? Do you have a chip on your shoulder? I won't let this impact my performance on the field, I still have a job to do every game and that is to perform. I believe that college coaches will recognize my abilities, and see that I am a great contribution to their school and program. As for now, the only thing on my mind is WINNING.

Who do you look up to and provides you with inspiration to be the best that you can possibly be? I look up to my siblings. They inspire me every day to be not only a good football player, but a good person as well.

Izaiah's Summer Highlights:

Stay tuned for highlights after the first 3 games...

From BESTS to BEASTS in just 5 short years:

2014 WR and Alabama commit Derek Kief & 2014 WR and college prospect Izaiah Fuller (2014 ATH and UC commit Tyrell Gilbert bottom left)
2014 WR and Alabama commit Derek Kief & 2014 WR and college prospect Izaiah Fuller
(2014 ATH and UC commit Tyrell Gilbert bottom left)
Izaiah is focused, stronger, faster, healthy and BIG. The Twin Towers, along with Ferguson, Willcox and the depth at the receiver positions, I will take the La Salle Lancer receiving corp over any other high school's receiving corp in the entire country.

I believe this team will do great things this season. I believe this team has what it takes and can be GCL Champs. I believe this team has what it takes and can be State Champs. This team and Lancer Nation have to think WE. Repeat after me:

WE believe that WE will and have the will so WE can!
WE believe that WE will and have the will so WE can!
WE believe that WE will and have the will so WE can!
WE believe that WE will and have the will so WE can!

Believe It.

by Lance Hart