Football player doubles as Hollywood actor

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Football player doubles as Hollywood actor

Story by Logan Brettell

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He has one foot on the field and the other in Hollywood. With the help of his father, freshman BU linebacker Keith Loneker Jr. of Lawrence split his time in high school between practicing football and taking small roles in movies.

Loneker’s father Keith Sr., has appeared in well-known motion pictures such as Superbad and Leatherheads and took on roles in 13 movies over his acting career. He began acting following his retirement from the NFL, when his agent suggested a potential career in movies. Shortly after, he was preparing for his first auditions.

“I had always wanted to go into the business,” Keith Sr. said. “After my agent asked me if I wanted to try it, I was pretty excited to get started.”

As a result of Keith Sr.’s experience in the movie business, Keith Jr. has benefitted from the exposure to the industry.

“I’ve been pretty blessed with the opportunities my dad has given me,” Keith Jr. said. “I hope to continue acting and appearing in movies.”

During Keith Jr.’s sophomore year in high school, he played a supporting role in the movie Underdogs, which is currently on Netflix.

The movie, which was shot in Canton, Ohio, is a high school football story that combines action and romance with a story about “defying the odds,” Keith Jr. said. The team works to earn the first winning season in school history.

It seems natural that Keith Jr.’s first movie role would be about football, given that his father’s career in the NFL.

Keith Sr., a former University of Kansas offensive lineman, began his NFL career in 1993 and played for both the St. Louis Rams and the Atlanta Falcons.

Keith Sr. appeared in Underdogs as the head coach, while Keith Jr. played the team’s starting linebacker in the flick. Although he had no acting experience prior to this opportunity, his father has had what most people would consider an “experienced run” with acting.

Following the release of Underdogs, Keith Jr. said he was “a popular name around town for a while.”

After arriving at Baker, it didn’t take long for classmates and teammates to figure out that he had experience in the movie industry.

Eli Caldwell-Stout, a freshman running back at Baker, believes Keith Jr.’s story is unique to the Baldwin City campus.

“Having a player on the team who acted in a movie on Netflix is pretty cool,” Caldwell-Stout said. “And it makes it even better that he is a good football player.”

Following his career at Lawrence Free State High School where he was a three-year starter, Keith Jr. claimed a starting position on the Baker football team as a true freshman.

“He is a fast, talented player,” Caldwell-Stout said. “It’s no question that Keith has earned a starting role on the team.”

Keith Jr. says he intends to continue his acting career and attend classes in Kansas City following his college graduation in order to “improve his skills for the future.”

“I believe coming to Baker was the right decision for me,” Keith Jr. said. “I intend to finish my four years here, win a championship, and prepare myself for the future ahead.”