National Signing Day officially ends a decorated high school career for the three-star prospect, who was named a Parade All-American after recording 22 sacks during his senior season.
Like most high school kids in his position, Letter of Intent Day is one day in particular that has special meaning, as it signifies one of the final steps remaining in his journey to University of Arizona.
"I'm really excited about signing," Kelley said. "I'm so happy to have this opportunity to play college football at the next level. It's just my hard work paying off and just being thankful for everything that I have."
For a small period of time it wasn't even clear where the 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior, who after the firing of former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops took a step back and reevaluated things. However, a January official visit sealed the deal for the Wildcats and re-solidified his commitment to new coach Rich Rodriguez.
"I visited a couple of schools last spring and then committed to Arizona during the summer," Kelley said. "After coach Stoops got fired I opened it up and took some officials to Colorado and Oklahoma. After I took my official visit to Arizona a few weeks ago I officially told the coaches I'm staying with Arizona.
"For me it was my comfort level at Arizona. I just felt really comfortable there and I really like the whole social aspect and the campus setup and the coaches are great too."
With an entirely new coaching staff in the fold in Tucson, the country's 42nd best defensive end in the class of 2012 has already developed a rapport with his future head coach and position coach at Arizona.
"I met with coach (Bill) Kirelawich last week at my school," Kelley said. "I met with coach Rodriguez a few times and he's a great guy. I feel like he's going to make Arizona one of the top schools in the Pac-12 and he's a great person. Coach Kirelawich is a great guy as well and he's very passionate about the game and is a great coach."
Even though Kelley won't enroll until the summer he already has a clear idea of what he hopes to accomplish during his career at Arizona.
"I hope to help my team win a Rose Bowl," Kelley said. "I hope we make it there or to another BCS Bowl. Hopefully we can the Pac-12; I want us to be successful throughout Pac-12 play. Seeing a couple of individual awards and to make it to the next level would be nice."