Scout300 DE Kelly talks first look at Alabama

Alabama is set to host dozens of top targets during its initial summer camp sessions beginning Sunday, but a few top targets saw Tuscaloosa to kick off the weekend Friday. Among the group was Xavier Kelly, an edge rusher with a UA offer in hand making his first trip to campus.

The first impression is something few would forget, so for four-star Witchita (Kans.) East defensive end Xavier Kelly and his father, Friday was a big day at the University of Alabama.

“Alabama is a big-time program in football, and they also have good academics,” he said. “Their stadium is huge, that really stuck out to me, and I saw it while it was empty. I can only imagine what it would be like full. The environment was good, the campus is big, they have a beautiful campus.

“I met a few of the players, too. They were cool. I also spoke to a few coaches.”

Nick Saban usually meets with top Crimson Tide targets to close out a trip, but several assistants made it a point to speak to the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder while he was on campus as well.

“Met with coach (Tosh) Lupoi, coach (Kirby) Smart, coach (Billy) Napier and some strength and conditioning coaches, too. I got the chance to talk to coach Saban in his office, that was pretty cool,” Kelly said. “Coach Saban was talking about life after football, preparing for that. Football is only so long, and then it will be over. You have to prepare, even if you have a long football career, you’ll retire in your 30s, so there’s a long life ahead of you.”

While Saban focused on the overall picture, Lupoi and company detailed the role Kelly would assume should he decide to play for the defending SEC champions.

“I play defensive end in high school, so they were talking about putting me in this position called the JACK position,” he said. “So I’d be playing outside linebacker and defensive end. First and second down, I’d be an outside linebacker in a two-point stance and then on third down I’d have my hand on the ground like a true defensive end and rush the passer.

“It doesn’t matter to me, though; I just want to help the team win. My strengths are my speed and my size. I use my speed in a lot of situations that help me a lot.”

Admitting the size and awe of Bryant-Denny Stadium was the most surprising part of the trip, the combination of on and off-the-field information Kelly and his father gained while in Tuscaloosa also left an impression.

“My dad went with me, he liked the academic side of it and how they’re really up there in the SEC,” he said. “I think they lead the SEC in graduation rate, and they’re always a top program in the SEC, so they get a lot of TV time too. They presented multiple things to me.”

With Alabama among two dozen offers for the No. 204 overall prospect in America’s 2016 class and one of several visits on tap for the summertime, there isn’t a rush to make a decision. In fact, the recruiting timeline for one of the Midlands’ top defenders is already laid out.

“Hopefully I’ll have a top five or top eight by the end of the summer, then on January 9 I’m going to announce at the Army All-American game,” Kelly said. “Even if I do know where I want to go, I’m going to keep it to myself until the Army game. I may let the school know, but I won’t let it go public until January 9.

“I just want to go to a school where I’m comfortable living for four years, with a good academic program, where I’d fit in with their football program. Comfortable with the coaches and players, like if players are making bad decisions, I don’t want to be a part of that. A school where I can develop not only as a player, but as a person.”


BamaMag Top Stories

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Admitting the size and awe of Bryant-Denny Stadium was the most surprising part of the trip, the combination of on and off-the-field information Kelly and his father gained while in Tuscaloosa also left an impression.

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“My dad went with me, he liked the academic side of it and how they’re really up there in the SEC,” he said. “I think they lead the SEC in graduation rate, and they’re always a top program in the SEC, so they get a lot of TV time too. They presented multiple things to me.”

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With Alabama among two dozen offers for the No. 204 overall prospect in America’s 2016 class and one of several visits on tap for the summertime, there isn’t a rush to make a decision. In fact, the recruiting timeline for one of the Midlands’ top defenders is already laid out.

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“Hopefully I’ll have a top five or top eight by the end of the summer, then on January 9 I’m going to announce at the Army All-American game,” Kelly said. “Even if I do know where I want to go, I’m going to keep it to myself until the Army game. I may let the school know, but I won’t let it go public until January 9.

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“I just want to go to a school where I’m comfortable living for four years, with a good academic program, where I’d fit in with their football program. Comfortable with the coaches and players, like if players are making bad decisions, I don’t want to be a part of that. A school where I can develop not only as a player, but as a person.”

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The first impression is something few would forget, so for four-star Witchita (Kans.) East defensive end Xavier Kelly and his father, Friday was a big day at the University of Alabama.

“Alabama is a big-time program in football, and they also have good academics,” he said. “Their stadium is huge, that really stuck out to me, and I saw it while it was empty. I can only imagine what it would be like full. The environment was good, the campus is big, they have a beautiful campus.

“I met a few of the players, too. They were cool. I also spoke to a few coaches.”

Nick Saban usually meets with top Crimson Tide targets to close out a trip, but several assistants made it a point to speak to the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder while he was on campus as well.

“Met with coach (Tosh) Lupoi, coach (Kirby) Smart, coach (Billy) Napier and some strength and conditioning coaches, too. I got the chance to talk to coach Saban in his office, that was pretty cool,” Kelly said. “Coach Saban was talking about life after football, preparing for that. Football is only so long, and then it will be over. You have to prepare, even if you have a long football career, you’ll retire in your 30s, so there’s a long life ahead of you.”

While Saban focused on the overall picture, Lupoi and company detailed the role Kelly would assume should he decide to play for the defending SEC champions.

“I play defensive end in high school, so they were talking about putting me in this position called the JACK position,” he said. “So I’d be playing outside linebacker and defensive end. First and second down, I’d be an outside linebacker in a two-point stance and then on third down I’d have my hand on the ground like a true defensive end and rush the passer.

“It doesn’t matter to me, though; I just want to help the team win. My strengths are my speed and my size. I use my speed in a lot of situations that help me a lot.”

pic.twitter.com/E2fIP5DxmF

— Xavier kelly (@xavierkelly22) May 29, 2015

Admitting the size and awe of Bryant-Denny Stadium was the most surprising part of the trip, the combination of on and off-the-field information Kelly and his father gained while in Tuscaloosa also left an impression.

“My dad went with me, he liked the academic side of it and how they’re really up there in the SEC,” he said. “I think they lead the SEC in graduation rate, and they’re always a top program in the SEC, so they get a lot of TV time too. They presented multiple things to me.”

With Alabama among two dozen offers for the No. 204 overall prospect in America’s 2016 class and one of several visits on tap for the summertime, there isn’t a rush to make a decision. In fact, the recruiting timeline for one of the Midlands’ top defenders is already laid out.

“Hopefully I’ll have a top five or top eight by the end of the summer, then on January 9 I’m going to announce at the Army All-American game,” Kelly said. “Even if I do know where I want to go, I’m going to keep it to myself until the Army game. I may let the school know, but I won’t let it go public until January 9.

“I just want to go to a school where I’m comfortable living for four years, with a good academic program, where I’d fit in with their football program. Comfortable with the coaches and players, like if players are making bad decisions, I don’t want to be a part of that. A school where I can develop not only as a player, but as a person.”

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