Ryan Kelly talks in-depth of decision

Ryan Kelly, Scout.com four-star center from West Chester-Lakota West, Ohio, scheduled a press conference after taking a weekend visit to Alabama. He announced his surprise commitment Monday afternoon. Kelly talked in-depth about the reasons for choosing the Tide.

"I went down to Alabama this past weekend," said Ryan Kelly. "I met with coach Saban on Saturday. He pulled me in his office, and we talked for a bit. He told me they appreciated me coming down on three separate occassions.

"I told him I was ready to commit. I said I know this is the right place for me. This is where I want to play and live. Coach Saban had a huge smile on his face. He stood up and shook my hand. That's the happiest I have ever seen him."

Kelly said the decision came at the right time.

"I threw people some curve balls," he said. "I don't think anyone knew I would commit this soon. Recruiting has just taken up so much of my life. I wanted to go ahead and get it out of the way. I wanted to put it on the back burner. My priority is helping our team reach the playoffs.

"The decision came down to Alabama and Florida. Both of those teams dominate the SEC every year. My head coach, coach Cox, told me to put all the other stuff behind me and decide where I would fit in if I didn't play football. I sat down and thought about it. Alabama was the answer. That's where I really wanted to be."

The nation's No. 2 rated center prospect talked about his relationship with the Alabama coaching staff.

"My recruiting coach is Sal Sunseri," Kelly said. "We met a long time ago when he was recruiting Jordan Hicks who went to Texas. We built a relationship back then and have stayed in contact ever since.

"Coach Pendry really took a hands-on approach with me. I kind of flew under his radar. He came up here during the evaluation period to see me and was blown away. He called down to Tuscaloosa and said let's get this done. He gives me a big hug every time he sees me. We talk all the time about where he thinks I would fit, and and we share a lot of the same hobbies."

The 6-foot-5, 285-pound prospect was a hot commodity in large part due to his versatility.

"I am not really a center," Kelly said. "I have played center, guard and tackle. I think that's why the coaches are so excited. They can get a three-position player in one. Coach Pendry might move me to tackle or guard. I can play wherever. I like center a lot though.

"I think center is where I can move on to the next level after college. It doesn't really matter to me though. Guard is easy to me. I played it my sophomore year. I didn't play a lot at tackle. I played three games at it last year.

The Ohio native has kept in contact with one Alabama commitment and hoping another player from his home-state joins the Tide.

"Vinnie Sunseri and I have been talking a lot," Kelly said. "When I was down there this past weekend we hung out a lot. He lives only about 10 minutes from the campus. I think we might be roommates when we get there. We have a good relationship with each other. His family is really nice. Of course his dad is coach Sal Sunseri. Vinnie said I could come over to his house whenever I want.

"I know we are recruiting Trey DePriest. I have met him once. I met him when I was down at Alabama. I know Alabama is high on his list. It would be great to have another Ohio person on the team. I don't plan on calling him or anything. I don't really know him. It's his decision, but I hope he comes to Alabama with us."

Kelly is happy to end the recruiting process and focus on his senior season. He will spend the off-season preparing for his arrival next summer and quality time with friends.

"I don't plan on graduating early," he stated. "I have thought about that. I think Vinnie's plan is to graduate early. He can see his friends though. This is it for me. After my senior year I'll be moving for good. I definitely want to have the time of my life before I move on to bigger and better things."

Kelly talked about the biggest difference from last year to this past spring when college coaches came for evaluations.

"I would say I have grown about an inch and put on 30-pounds since last year," he said. "It's not fat. I have already seen a big difference in my footwork, size and strength. That is what I have noticed. I think pass blocking is my greatest ability. I am good at bending my knees. I need to work on run blocking. Pass bloicking has always carried me as a strength."

The opportunity to travel to Tuscaloosa from West Chester, Ohio doesn't come easy especially during the football season. Kelly hopes to make the trip maybe twice to see the Penn State and Auburn games. He will take his official visit to Alabama after the season.


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