By IZZY GOULD
Published December 3, 2006
School: Wesley Chapel
Weight: 225 pounds
Why we picked him: Chalecki had been a dominant linebacker in Pasco County for three seasons. He maintained an elite level of play through a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which threatened to end his senior season before it began.
Significant statistics: Chalecki finished as Wesley Chapel's all-time leading tackler with 468 tackles, more than 200 higher than the next player on that list. The Wildcats captain logged 143 tackles this season, including 120 solo.
Best moment: Overcoming a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Chalecki was advised to have surgery last year, then again after the ligament ripped further apart during spring football. Surgery at that point would have kept him from playing his senior season. Instead, he chose to play and lived up to his reputation as one of the fiercest hitters in Pasco County.
Most memorable play: A hit he made in the first quarter in an opening-night win against Gulf. Chalecki crushed a receiver coming across the middle and knocked the ball free. "I realized at that moment I could play with the injury," he said. "That was probably one of my biggest hits all year."
One play you'd like to have back: Wesley Chapel's final defensive play against the Gators. Land O'Lakes ran a reverse with quarterback Joe Weatherford handing off to Develin Robinson. Chalecki stayed with Robinson, figuring the Gators' top playmaker would keep the ball. Robinson handed off the reverse and the Gators scored the winner. "I was there, but I went with Develin," Chalecki said. "They scored the touchdown and won the game in overtime."
Why he wears No. 32: Chalecki wore No. 50 as a freshman because it was the first number he wore in seventh grade when he began playing football. In eighth grade, he switched to No. 32, which wasn't available when he arrived as a freshman at Wesley Chapel. He switched to 32 as a sophomore because assistant Brian Colding was trying to get him to play guard.
Coach's comment: "This is one of the best linebackers I've coached in 36 years," coach John Castelamare said. "He's going to be missed tremendously here. He did everything you asked and had the respect of his teammates."
What's next: Chalecki wants to play college football. If not, he will lean on his weighted 4.2 GPA to get him into school. "I'm pretty good on academics," he said. "My mother always told me to keep them up because football might not always be there." Chalecki hopes to play football in Florida or Ohio, two states where he has family.
[Last modified December 2, 2006, 22:20:40]
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