Bob Przybylo/Scout

Sooner Intel: Jordan Kelley made OU take notice

Jordan Kelley didn't have a great day at OU's camp, but he's made Sooners notice him now after junior season.

Tulsa (Okla.) Union is always an easy spot to head toward if you’re a college football coach. The 2018 group has a chance to be as elite as they come.

Looking at skill guys like Adrian Wilson, C.J. Moore and Patrick Fields, no shortage of talent for the Redskins at receiver and in the secondary.

But don’t forget about the trenches. Watch defensive tackle Jordan Kelley play, and it’s pretty easy to make sure you don’t forget about the linemen.

Kelley was one of the many reasons why Union was able to earn the state championship in 2016 and is the early favorite to do it again in 2017.

And now he’s got an OU offer following a trip to Norman for junior day last weekend.

“I had a feeling, but at the same, I wasn’t sure,” Kelley said. “I went through the whole day and was putting on the jersey at the end when they pulled me to the side.”

Defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux has been familiar with Kelley for a while. Kelley was one of the top defensive linemen names at OU’s elite one-day camp last summer. Problem was, and Kelley admits it, that Wednesday afternoon in June wasn’t among his best outings.

He had been talking to defensive coordinator Mike Stoops since he was a freshman, but a dud of a performance had him wondering how things were going to shake out. Thibodeaux took a look at Kelley’s junior season film and saw the type of player he thought he’d see at the camp.

Since then, Thibodeaux has done his best to build that relationship with Kelley, who has seen his recruitment take off in the last month.

The last couple of years have been all about changing for Kelley. Two years ago he was around 225 pounds before ballooning up to 280 pounds. He said it’s all because of his grandma’s cooking, but it also worked out.

Initially a tight end for the Redskins, the Union coaches wanted to move Kelley to defensive line anyway. Going from 225-to-280 is exactly what he needed to do.

“The mentality for me has been I have to grow up,” Kelley said. “I’m not going to be in high school forever. The adjustment wasn’t that bad, and it definitely helped with them wanting me to move there anyway.”

Kelley has been active with offers from TCU and Memphis here recently, and he’s set to visit Texas this weekend.

But there’s something about an OU offer for a kid from the state, and Kelley is no different when it comes to that mindset.

“It does mean quite a bit,” Kelley said. “That was the school I grew up as a kid and just loving it. I’m going to Texas, but I haven’t talked to anybody else anymore after that.”

Kelley said it won’t just be a football decision but also about setting himself up for life after football, too. With OU making waves with a lot of top defensive line prospects for the 2018 class, Kelley knows he won’t wait too long but will make sure he’s ready to make that call.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories