Kendall Kelly, the nations #4 rated WR, has all the tools to be an elite player at the next level. He has size, speed, hands and a certain level of toughness (both mental and physical) that can't be measured. He also happens to be on the wish list of nearly every team in America. Kelly is a supreme talent but you will never hear him say it.
He carries himself with quiet confidence and leads by example, a trait not always found in elite athletes, and it appears that he is going to be just as reserved when it comes to recruiting. That doesn't mean he wasn't saying anything.
"It's been going great," he said. "We have been to a lot of camps this summer and had fun, and I've had a chance to learn a lot.""
Does all of this experience put Kelly any closer to making a decision?
"A little bit," he offered. "I might try to make a decision before the season starts but it may be more toward the end."
Kelly is an absolute specimen at WR and received much attention all night from the Florida coaches
I'll pretty much just wait until I'm sure I feel right in making the decision."
Is the 5-Star phenom any closer to setting a Top 5?
"Not really…I haven't really sat down and come up with it yet," he said. "I'll narrow that down and set my official visits at the same time."
Kelly (like most upper-echelon athletes) has a lot of experience on the summer circuit. One might ask if the camps and combines get old and what keeps guys motivated for events like Florida's "FNL".
"For me personally, it's the competition and just the chance to see some of the best players in the country," he said. "I also like to see where I stand."
This is certainly a refreshing level of humility coming from such a highly-rated player and it is this kind of desire to improve that keeps Kelly from growing content.
The Gadsden City Crew and The Gator
The other half of the dynamic duo is another elite player whose name has also reached household status. Dre Kirkpatrick is the #3 CB in the nation and is also at the top of many wish lists.
Scout was able to catch up with the talented athlete and talk recruiting, and the result wasn't really any different. Like Kelly, he is playing it close to the vest and doesn't want to rush things.
But the main reason why might reveal more about his character than one would think.
"It's (recruiting) going pretty good," he said. "I'm just taking it one day at a time and I'm trying to let my mom get more involved in the decision."
It became clear at that moment that Kirkpatrick understands the big picture. He sees that it impacts more than just himself and he truly wants people that are close to him to have input into the decision.
How has this new approach impacted his list of favorites?
"I don't really have any favorites right now, but that could change in the coming months," he said.
Kirkpatrick was at the front of the line in every drill and very attentive
"There are still a lot of places that my mom hasn't seen that I like, and I want to make sure she knows about them.
Then came the standard Top 5 question (even though I knew he probably didn't have one), but there was the slightest hint in his answer that caught my attention. Sometimes we reach for answers when they are hard to come by, so there might not be anything to it, but it is worth mentioning.
"I don't really have a list right now because all the schools that are my favorites, I haven't visited yet," he offered. "I mean, Florida is one, obviously, and I'm just now getting around to seeing them, but I still have a lot of places to get to."
I think it's fair to say that he has been to a few of his top campuses, but it is a bit thought-provoking.
Anyone who has seen Kirkpatrick play knows that he is a talented cornerback, but what goes largely unnoticed is his ability with the ball. Whether on special teams or after an INT, he is extremely dangerous with the pigskin in his hands, so I was naturally curious if any of the college coaches had taken notice, as well.
The Gadsden City Crew was headed to Florida State the following day and then it was back to Alabama to get ready for the season. Kelly and Kirkpatrick + Co. open with Tuscaloosa-Central and they know their team is young this year. They also know a little bit about what it's going to take to be successful this year.
Kelly admits that he is the quiet one and that he leads by example. He shows up on time and works hard, certainly a recipe for success. He defers the role of vocal leader to Kirkpatrick, so it was only fitting that Dre close the interview.
"It's like I always tell my guys…it starts in the offseason and whoever works the hardest will come out victorious."
Spoken like a champion—by both of them.
Burke Hayes is the Southeastern Regional Manager for Football Recruiting at Scout.