Kelly: 'It's a dream come true'

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When he talks about being able to play football on the next level, he glows with excitement. Todd Kelly Jr. is beaming around Knoxville on Monday night.

The Webb School standout placed a call over to the University of Tennessee earlier and got the news he wanted as the Volunteers decided to extend an offer to the Class of 2014 prospect.

"Everywhere I go people are congratulating me," Kelly told InsideTennessee. "I'm really happy. It's a dream come true. I've always dreamed about this happening, and it's finally a reality.

"It's really special. I've been in touch with the coaches and everything. I've been calling them a lot. Of course they found out about my Auburn offer, which I got yesterday. That was the first offer of my career, and I'm very excited. I was hoping some other schools would pull the trigger — Tennessee in particular. Of course I have some other colleges interested in me right now, but I'm really ecstatic about the offer, and I'm looking forward to taking a couple visits over there."

He is being recruited by several BCS schools across the southeast, including Clemson and Virginia Tech. A majority of the coaches he has talked to have informed him they see him as a safety on the next level.

When InsideTennessee first introduced Sports Next subscribers to Kelly last October, he measured in at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds. He admitted his weight hasn't changed any since, but he has added an inch to break the 6-foot barrier.

"I'm keeping the weight where it is right now," he said. "I'm pretty comfortable on the football field and with everything else at this weight. Things do change. I may gain a couple pounds. But, I'm looking forward to playing defensive back in college."

Several Vol signing classes in the past were void of athletes in the Knoxville area. That appears to be a dying trend under coach Derek Dooley and his staff, which signed Bearden's Devrin Young in the Class of 2011, Central's Cody Blanc and West's George Bullock this class, and 2013 wide receiver Camion Patrick is verbally committed.

Kelly plans on playing some 7-on-7 football with Patrick when the weather warms up with Next Level Training.

After winning the TSSAA Div. II Class A state championship during Kelly's freshman season in 2010, the Spartans fell to University School of Jackson in the semifinals in '11.

"I hate faling short," he admitted. "Every year the Webb Spartans hope for a state championship, but unfortunately we fell short. So, I'm not very pleased with our results, but at the same time, you should be thankful for what you have. We did win a region championship. So, I was happy for our team for that."

Kelly ran for 778 yards on 72 carries with 13 touchdowns as both a running back and wing back in Webb's Wing-T offense. Defensively, he racked up 65 tackles, four tackles for loss and an interception. For his efforts, the Tennessee Sports Writers Association named him all-state.

"I think I did pretty well, but you can always do better. I'm looking forward to improving for next year," he said.

Kelly is a multi-sport athlete. He and his Webb basketball teammates defeated Mt. Juliet Christian Academy in the East/Middle Region tournament and take on Frankin Road Academy on Friday night.

He will also compete in track this spring in an effort to bolster his speed. He plans to run the 100-meter, 200-meter, 4x100 and possibly the long jump.

Later this weekend, Kelly will head south to check out Alabama. Next week he will venture to Auburn. Then, in early March, he will visit Tennessee. It won't be his first unofficial visit to The Hill as he was in attendance as a recruit for the Georgia game last October as well.

"It will be my first time going back to Tennessee after getting an offer from them, so I think it will be a totally different atmosphere," he said.

Check out the photo gallery to get a better look at the prospect.

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