KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- East Kentwood grad John Keenoy started 12 games at center as a true freshman for Western Michigan in 2015, helping the Broncos' rushing attack average more than 204 yards a game on their way to a share of the MAC West championship and the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl title.
It didn't take long for Keenoy to know he had to elevate his game at the college level after enrolling early for spring practice last season.
"I mean, my first day stepping out for spring practice last year," he said after the Broncos' scrimmage on Thursday. "Just to see the tempo and see Coach Fleck...it was just a new thing. I knew I had to step it up."
"This spring is way different than last spring. A lot more learning. (Strength) coach (Dan) Nichol in the winter -- getting stronger. I just feel more comfortable out here."
Head coach P.J. Fleck is quick to pile on the praise for his center.
"He's priceless. He's really priceless," Fleck said Thursday. "He's probably one of the smartest players on our team. We have a saying: 'A smarter player is a better player.' John Keenoy finds a way to get things done. He's the orchestrator of that -- besides the quarterback -- he makes sure everything, everybody goes where they're supposed to go. He's 100% on all of his calls, all of his identifications. That's a lot. It was a lot for a freshman. Now it's even better than it was."