Gilmore connects with 4-star DE

Four-star defensive end Xavier Kelly has seen a steady flow of college coaches at Wichita East High School this spring. Notre Dame assistant Keith Gilmore made the trek and is building a closer relationship as the Irish will be part of Kelly’s big summer tour.

Xavier Kelly didn’t expect his recruitment to explode after de-committing from Kansas State this spring.

When the four-star defensive end from Wichita, Kan., pulled back his verbal pledge he had about eight offers on the table. Now, after Penn State offered Monday, he holds 29.

Kelly credits the explosion of interest to his junior film and a strong performance at The Opening Regional in Dallas.

“I think I did pretty well there,” Kelly said. “I think that had a lot to do with the offers too. They saw my speed and they saw me do one-on-ones and stuff. I could kind of see where I’m at based off some of the best players in the nation. I could compare myself to them. There was NFL coaches coaching us so I learned a lot from them, a lot of different moves.”

Several of those programs have made their way through Wichita East High School in the last couple weeks to follow up.

Clemson, TCU, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Florida State and Notre Dame have all made a stop. Irish defensive line coach Keith Gilmore made the trek to Wichita and has been communicating regularly with Kelly since extending an offer.

“I actually have built a closer relationship with them,” Kelly said. “I just found out coach Gilmore, he’s from Detroit just like my dad is. We’ve got a lot of family up there too. We’ve got a closer relationship.”

Kelly has a visit to Notre Dame set for June 10 as part of a massive summer tour.

Other tentatively planned visits include Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, TCU, Michigan, Michigan State, Clemson, Miami, Alabama and Ole Miss.

Collecting information during that period will be critical as Kelly plans a cut afterward.

“I just want to see where the graduation rate is and how comfortable I am at the school,” he said. “Then how I get along with the coaches and players. If I’ll have a chance to compete as a freshman and just have a chance to develop as a person and a player.”

Kelly will also assess his relationships with position coaches and primary recruiters as the spring moves forward.

“I think building a strong relationship with the position coach is really important,” Kelly said. “That’s who you’re gonna be working with on a daily basis. Building that relationship is crucial.” Top Stories