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Top MAC Football Players of 2013: #17 Luke Wollet, Kent State DB

He underwent heart surgery at 13 years old, received just one division one football scholarship and is the 17th best returning player on our countdown.

Kirk Irwin

At 13 years old, Luke Wollet had heart surgery.

Before the surgery, when he played sports, he would faint. His heart was beating irregularly; furthermore, his body could not keep up. He was constantly monitored. The burden worsened due to mental strain. Doctors worried that his condition was a tough fix and serious issue. However, because of the progression of medical science, it turned out that he needed ‘simple’ heart surgery.

The procedure was called ablation. They removed a nerve in his heart. It forced him to miss a year of sports, but when he recovered the relief was majestic.

"It was good to get that out of my life." Wollet said, "It was a nice to play without having to worry about jumping wrong or causing it to act up."

Wollet, a six foot safety for Kent State, said that he only has one more year to complete his goal. He wants to win the Mid-American Conference Championship. It is an achievement that alluded him last season when Kent State’s fourth quarter comeback led to an overtime loss.

The game left fans heart’s beating rapidly.

"Our goal is to win the MAC Championship… I don’t care what anyone says, it took months to get over that lost, man. It was heart breaking." Wollet continued, "I got one more chance this year to make it right. We have one goal: to win the MAC."

You’re too small. You’re our second choice. We just don’t have a scholarship.

These excuses were continually given to Wollet as he pursued a division one football career. His Kent State offer was the only offer that was sent to him. He said that receiving it is his best childhood memory. However, as happy as he was to get the offer, his recruiting experience left him vengeful.

"All the other MAC schools were telling me that I was their next guy. They lie or whatever. OU is telling me I’m too slow, Miami’s telling me I’m not big enough. The other schools are not even taking me serious. I took that a little personal. I still take that personal. I want those coaches to look back and say ‘damn, we messed up.’" Wollet said.

He said his favorite part about football is proving people wrong. He recalls last season when voters choose Kent State to finish fourth in the MAC East division. They won it, and as his team humble experts, Wollet humbles opposing coaches.

Wollet was voted All-MAC third team his sophomore year, and promoted to All-MAC second team last season. He recorded 119 tackles and four interceptions his Junior year. In the MAC Championship game, he finished with nine tackles and a sack. He had eleven tackles in the bowl against Arkansas State.

Wollet and Kent State will have another chance to prove people wrong. They have been voted to finish third in the MAC East behind OHIO and Bowling Green. To Wollet, it serves as a reminder that last season means little today.

"Bowling Green and Ohio are two good teams. And we think that we have a good team. It all comes down to making plays on Saturday." Wollet continued, "We have a pretty competitive division this year… We don’t have the same team as last year, and neither do they. Different teams means different chemistry and we will see how it all works out." Wollet said.

Kent State does not have the same team as last year, they don’t even have the same coach. Darrell Hazell left the program to take a Big Ten job at Purdue. Kent State’s new head coach is Paul Haynes.

"I think the future is real bright at Kent State. I think coach Haynes is doing a good job of picking up where coach Hazel left. It’s all about building and building and building for years to come. I want to see Kent State turn into the next Boise State. I think coach Haynes is the right guy for that." Wollet said.

Wollet says that individually, he wants to improve and become more patient. He thinks last season was a good one, but it could have been great if it was not for missed tackles. He notes that for every one good play, he can list ten plays that he could have been better.

"I need to stop trying to force stuff. Offensive coordinators pick up on that, and they use that. I sell out on the run, they will run play action, and I’ll leave my guy open. I just got to stay focus on my keys and don’t get out of position. I need to focus on becoming a more discipline football player." Wollet said.

Wollet is the second ranked safety in our poll. He is the third ranked secondary player. Wollet’s senior year will be the time for him to achieve his dreams that seemed so far away when he laid on an operating table, preparing for someone to cut into his chest.