HOBERT, Wis. (NBC 26) — Four years ago, Kendall Karcz couldn't have even imagined playing in the NFL. In fact, college football wasn't even on his radar.
"I actually wasn't even planning on playing college football," Karcz, a Pulaski native, told NBC 26. "It wasn't until late (in the recruiting cycle) that St. Norbert came and offered me a spot on the team."
A star defensive back, Karcz had six interceptions his senior year at Pulaski. That caught St. Norbert's eye, and the Green Knights came calling.
"I wasn't the biggest kid coming out of high school," Karcz said. "I didn't have any offers to go play anywhere."
In January of 2018, St. Norbert defensive coordinator Drew Vanderlin reached out to Karcz. He took took the meeting, went to SNC on a visit and decided to sign up.
"I wasn't ready to give it up yet," Karcz said with a smile.
It turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life.
In De Pere, Karcz blossomed into an NCAA Division III All-American, just the fourth in St. Norbert's nearly 100-year-long history.
In 2021, he burst onto the scene in a game against Wisconsin Lutheran in October. Karcz intercepted four passes, bringing two of them back for touchdowns in the Green Knights' 68-0 victory.
Then after the season, he took another chance.
After talking with his coaches at St. Norbert and Scotty Smith, the owner of Synergy Sports Performance in Hobart, Karcz decided to pursue his pro potential.
"This is the one time in my life that I'll be able to do this," he said. "So it's either do it or lose it."
For the last three months, he's been training at Syngery along with a few other local NFL prospects.
Karcz is hoping his measure-ables - particularly his speed - set him apart from other Division III prospects.
"That was one thing, I always wanted to be the fastest kid on the field," he said. "I guess it's working out."
In front of NFL scouts last month, Karcz ran a 4.56 40-yard-dash at UW-Whitewater's pro day. It was the fastest time time among all prospects at the workout, including Derek Kumerow - the younger brother of former Packers receiver Jake Kumerow.
However, the conditions were tough. When he auditions inside the Don Hutson Center with the Packers next week, Karcz plans on something bigger.
"I'm hoping the indoors and the above-30-degree temperatures will allow me to run a 4.4," he laughed.
A number like that could catch the eye of NFL front offices and give him a chance, perhaps propelling him to the next step in his career.
"Obviously it's been an uphill battle," Karcz said. "But it's pretty crazy.
"It's been a journey," he said. "I wouldn't change any part of it."