Caleb Kelly never saw Tennessee’s campus before taking part in an Orange Carpet Day event June 17.
“It was great,” Kelly told InsideTennessee. “I like the hospitality and I like the stadium and all the facilities and everything.”
The Hapeville Charter (Ga.) Academy rising senior got a long look inside, out and on top of Neyland Stadium.
“It’s so much bigger than every stadium I’ve been to so far,” Kelly said. “They took us on the roof, and we got to see it from the top.
“The stadium really cut it because I didn’t think it was going to be this big. The facilities were nicer than what I’ve seen so far.”
The day included several Tennessee commits being on campus along with the entire coaching staff. Future Vols quarterback Adrian Martinez spent some time with the Atlanta native.
“(Martinez) said he liked the commitment; he made a good choice,” Kelly said.
Positional versatility is part of the attraction for programs to Kelly, who totaled 45 tackles (21 solo), 2.5 sacks and two interceptions while playing along the defensive front in 2016.
The relationship between the prospect and Tennessee still has room to go as the scholarship offer just came June 1.
“I’m still going to talk to them more, so I can get to know them a little bit more,” the 6-foot-3½, 202-pound Kelly said.
Linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen is heading up Tennessee’s recruitment of Kelly.
“(Thigpen)’s a great coach I can tell because he’s like one of my high school coaches — coach Pope. So I know I can trust him, and I can believe in him,” Kelly said.
Another part of the attraction toward Tennessee is its having six players drafted by the National Football League in April.
“It shows that they have a good coaching staff here (at Tennessee),” Kelly said. “If I believe in a school, they can take me to the next level.”
Some of the other programs getting a long look from the Peach State product include Michigan State, Vanderbilt and Virginia, who have all offered. He hopes to make a declaration “by the end of the summer.”
The league in which the Volunteers play is part of the attraction for Kelly.
“Just because it’s the SEC first of all. You know the SEC is a good football program and all that. Academically, they’re not the best, but they can take me,” he said.
Kelly plans to return in the coming weeks and again on Nov. 18.
“I know I’m definitely visiting for the LSU trip, and I’m probably going to take another visit this summer,” he said.
InsideTennessee’s Gabriella Santa contributed to this report.