"I was raised around football," said Kerley whose father coached the fifth grade teams in Garland, Tex. "I love football. I consider myself a student of the game."
That exposure has been beneficial to his play on the gridiron.
"I have a good feel for the game," Kerley said. "I feel like when something happens that is unexpected, I can react to it as good as anyone."
Kerley visited Arizona in July and came away impressed by the new coaching staff. He isn't worried about a recent lack of success, in fact the Cats' rebuilding project was a selling point.
"Before my sophomore year we got a new staff," Kerley said. "In our second year we made the playoffs and won our district. This year we should be even better. I get the same vibe from them that I do from my high school coaches.
"I really enjoy being a part of a rebuilding process," he continued. "I like sneaking up on people. There is nothing like the feeling of beating someone that no one expects you to beat."
Kerley enjoyed his time in Tucson and came away very impressed with the Wildcat coaches.
"I know this sounds crazy, but I just had a good feeling about them," Kerley went on. "They are based on history, on all their other commitments from my class and a gut feeling. They are going to be very good.
"They'll do great things there, hopefully soon."
Kerley is a true center prospect. He's added almost 30 pounds since the end of last season, but has kept his strength and great footwork. Kerley could be coming into a great situation. The Wildcats lose senior starter Keoki Fraser and have no experienced players whose primary position is in the middle.
"From what I've been told I could play pretty soon," Kerley said. "Playing right away is fine with me. I actually wouldn't mind redshirting."
Kerley said that he called the Arizona coaches just a little while after fellow Texan Xavier Kelly informed the Wildcat staff of the good news. He doesn't know any of the other Texans that have committed to the Cats, but has spoken with quarterback Willie Tuitama who has done a nice job recruiting players since he himself committed.
Kerley has a funny story about the first time Tuitama called him.
"When I was out in Tucson I read a copy of your Cat Tracks Magazine, it was the one with the story about Willie Tuitama's," Kerley said. ""A week later I got a call from him, he said that I should really think about committing too. I read about him committing to Arizona and then he's on the phone telling me to commit. That was kind of weird."
Kerley says that he really clicked with offensive line coach Eric Wolford. Like Wolford he's a nice guy off the field, but a fiery competitor when he steps between the lines.
"On the field I am all business," Kerley admitted. "If someone talks trash I'm talking back. I play so that people remember me. To me there is only one way football should be played. If someone comes away from a game and doesn't say ‘man that was tough' then I did something wrong."