Name: Nelkas Kwemo
Hometown: Montreal, Que.
High school / Cegep: Kents Hill School (US)
Academic program: Civil Engineering
Year of eligibility: 3
Key stats from 2015: Averaged 7.2 tackles per game, second best mark in OUA, 12 solo tackles in a single game was the second most ever for a Gael
Nelkas Kwemo started off the 2015 season as one of the top up and coming linebackers in the OUA. Playing in just four full games, he was able to finish with 36 tackles and a sack which included a game in Ottawa where he had 12 solo tackles in a single game.
Things all slowed to a halt for Kwemo though as he suffered a season-ending injury and was forced to the sidelines.
"Unfortunately with what happened to me last season and my ACL injury it provided a good perspective," said the Montreal native who is currently in engineering at Queen's. "The injury helped me understand the luxury of playing football and how amazing the sport really is."
Despite missing nearly half the year, he still finished second in the OUA in tackles per game with 7.2.
"Going through my injury and with all of the rehab it made me want to take advantage of this chance that I have because some athletes don't get another chance after an injury like that."
Focused and ready to take another step forward with a defensive group on the rise, Kwemo knows he can make the most of the opportunity. He joins a plethora of third-year Gaels who have a full two seasons under their belt after the turnover from the Gaels 2013 run to the Yates Cup final.
"This year it's all about health, endurance and becoming the player I know I can be, the team wants me to be, and I have to be for the defence."
A big milestone for the Gaels is their home opener on September 17 as Queen's will see a revitalized Richardson Stadium ready for action. The importance of that game for not only Queen's but Kingston is not lost on the third-year linebacker.
"There is a lot riding on our first home game, and we are pumped for it. We want to go into the game 2-0 because it's going to be such a great event for not just Queen's but Kingston and we want people to rally around it. We know if we put on a good show and do what we're supposed to do we'll have and even stronger fan base."