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Sophomore K.J. Maloney. Hillsdale College Ath­letics | Courtesy

What are you studying at Hillsdale?
Exercise science.

What brought you to Hillsdale?

I knew I wanted to play sports in college and Hillsdale would let me play football and run track if I wanted to. Then I came on a couple of visits here and got along well with the coach and staff. I loved how they ran the program, like the honor code and what Hillsdale stands for. When I was trying to find a school, my parents encouraged me to find a school where I also liked the edu­cation. Hillsdale has great aca­d­emics and that was def­i­nitely a major selling point. The way that everyone holds them­selves to a higher stander — being respectful and treating each other with care. You don’t get that a lot at other col­leges.

What are some dif­fer­ences between playing high school football versus college football?

Everybody is bigger, faster, and stronger in college. I came from a pretty small high school; we only had around 500 stu­dents. The other schools we played were also very small, so we didn’t have a lot of guys playing college football after grad­u­ating. It’s also a lot more mental than I thought — being pre­pared for the team, watching a lot of film, seeing how to fix your mis­takes. It’s a lot more tech­nical in a lot of ways. It’s also a huge time com­mitment com­pared to high school. It was weird getting used to it, but now it’s not that big of a deal. But it’s a lot of meetings, weightlifting, and prac­tices. The normal day is around four to six hours a day.

How did you recover from your high school injury?
My senior year of high school, I was having a pretty good season; we were unde­feated and I was getting a lot of looks from dif­ferent col­leges. But at the fourth game, I dis­lo­cated my shoulder and in the process I broke my bone and tore my labrum all the way down. I had to get major surgery and stop for six months. I slowly rehabbed it and it was a long process in getting it back to normal. It was a tough time, because I’ve always been a three-or-four-sports guy during the school year. I went from doing every­thing to doing nothing. It kind of drove me nuts being bored all the time. I love playing sports and dif­ferent activ­ities, so when I couldn’t do those things it was really depressing. My parents were there to help. They’re such big influ­ences in my life; always my biggest support system.

What do you enjoy about Hillsdale football?

We got a great team with not only great ath­letes, but also great guys. I think it’s rare for col­leges to have this because a lot of times college teams have great football players who are not reli­giously great. Here, we have well-rounded people with good char­acter. I can play football and have a great rela­tionship with others as well. The coaching staff is great; they do well in preparing us as a team against our oppo­nents. They try to make us the best people and ath­letes. I love how Dr. Jen­nings, our team chaplin, does chapel before our games. He’ll gives us a message that goes along with some bible readings and verses. This was some­thing new to me. Another cool thing we do is team bible studies every Wednesday. We can incor­porate faith into football and our team, which is really great.

Who on the team do you admire?

Trey Brock, he’s a great receiver and role model to look up to. He has a very strong, reli­gious life and does a great job aca­d­e­m­i­cally. He’s a great guy to look up to. Chance Stewart also, he’s a great guy and he and Trey both lead the bible study. There’s a bunch of great guys on the team who I can always look up to.