Kradel rocking
Butler's 280-pound junior offensive lineman offered by Syracuse; gaining other D-I interest

By John Enrietto 
Eagle Sports Editor 

BUTLER TWP — Jake Kradel has done more than increase muscle mass over the past year. 

Butler's junior left tackle has been picking up interest from major Division I football programs as well. 
“He's got the physical size to make (scouts) pay attention,” Butler High School line coach Bill McElroy said. “But he's also got the foot speed. What you can't teach is drive and determination. 
“Jake's got those things, too. He wants to be the best player he can possibly be. That type of thing comes from within.” 
McElroy would know. He graduated from Butler and went on to a stellar career at West Virginia University
“Coach McElroy and I talk all the time,” Kradel said. “He's been at the level I want to go. He knows what it took for him to get there and he knows what it will take for me to get there.” 
One thing it takes is work in the weight room. Another is proper diet and conditioning. Kradel is up on all of those things. 
He weighed 255 pounds as a lineman last year. He's at 6-foot-4 and close to 280 pounds this season. 
“It's all muscle. It's good weight,” Butler head coach Rob Densmore said. 
Kradel has already been offered a full scholarship by Syracuse. He was an invited guest to the Pitt-Penn State game as the Panthers are interested in him. 
Also in the mix are Northwestern, Toledo, Central Florida, Miami of Ohio, Penn, Massachusetts and Villanova, among others. 
“I'm just going to take my time and let the process play out,” Kradel said. “I'm not sure what I want to study in school yet and that will be a big factor in the decision. 
“Getting to the NFL is my ultimate goal, but I know I have to have a backup plan. My education is important to me.” 
Kradel is carrying a 3.1 grade point average in the classroom. 
McElroy sees him as a guard or center in college. Kradel will play one of those positions for the Tornado next year. 
“With his speed and agility, that's his future,” McElroy said. “We don't have the personnel to put him there this season. We'll put him at center or guard next do it next year to help prepare him for the next step.” 
Kradel doesn't expect to play at a tackle spot in college. 
“Those are for the 6-foot-7 and 6-8 guys ... That's not me,” Kradel said. 
He will have a spot somewhere on a team's offensive front, for sure. 
“Jake reminds me a lot of Adam Pritts (Butler lineman from a few years ago), who went on to Towson State,” McElroy said. “But Jake has more physical power. 
“He's probably the best lineman I've coached in my 10 years here.” 
While Densmore terms Kradel “the unquestioned physical leader of our line on both sides of the ball,” he says other Golden Tornado linemen work hard as well. 
“He's clearly our anchor up front and when you're as big and physical as Jake is, you get noticed,” Densmore said. “He's a natural that way. 
“He's a leader in terms of work ethic and dedication. We had a nutritionist from UPMC come in to speak and made it voluntary ... three players showed up. Proper diet is very underrated by players, but Jake takes it very seriously, 
“It's not easy for a high school kid to be that disciplined with what he eats, but he does it,” Densmore added. 
Kradel smiled when asked about his diet. 
“I've slipped up a few times,” he admitted. “But I'm usually pretty good with it. I try to keep the big picture in mind, about where I want to be.” 
McElroy said footwork is the toughest — and usually final — aspect of the game for a lineman to master. 
“You have to take a lot of angles, slide quickly in different directions, to be effective as a lineman,” he said. “It's easy when you're lined up directly over a guy and you can just overpower him. But that's only part of it. 
“Jake Kradel doesn't just want to get to a Division I school. He wants to stand out at one and that's a whole different level. He's working hard to get there.”