Kelly has offers from Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Fresno State, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Penn State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State and Wisconsin.
“Penn State offered me recently and that was a big thing,” said Kelly. “My coaches said they hadn’t been able to offer a lot of kids (because of scholarship restrictions), so they said that was a big offer because they didn’t have many to give. And then it’s Linebacker U so having a college like that recognize me was pretty exciting.”
A few other national schools are staying in consistent contact with Kelly and could be joining the fray too.
“Georgia sends me a lot of mail, saying they want me to be a Dawg, so I’m not sure that means they want to offer, but they’re sending me a lot of mail and Florida State is sending me a bunch of mail too,” said Kelly.
Kelly said that USC has been the most aggressive of the schools he’s got offers from.
“USC sends me stuff like every single day and they’re recruiting me the hardest,” said Kelly. “Coach (Peter) SIrmon and Coach (Justin) Wilcox are the main ones recruiting me. Coach (Keith) Heyward came up to watch one of our games too.”
UCLA is also recruiting Kelly pretty hard.
“Coach (Taylor) Mazzone is recruiting me and so is Coach (Jeff) Ulbrich. Coach Ulbrich saw me practice and then when I went to camp there, I worked with him. Coach (Jim) Mora tweets me a lot,” said Kelly.
Kelly hopes to see both schools play next month.
“I’m planning to go to the USC-UCLA game at the Rose Bowl in November,” said Kelly.
Miami and Arizona State are also frequently in contact with Kelly.
Kelly has 16 months until he’ll sign with a school, so he wants to slow the pace down of his recruitment and enjoy the process.
“I’m going to wait for a long time right now,” said Kelly. “Everyone is even. It’s way too early to name a leader. I honestly don’t do much recruiting stuff right now because it’s still so early in my junior year. I’m just sitting back and waiting. If coaches say to call them, I do, but that’s about it.”
Kelly played last spring with DB Guru on the 7v7 circuit and said for a physical linebacker like he is, it was a big step in his development.
“I loved playing 7v7 because I really was able to work on coverage and adding that to my game,” said Kelly.
But he relishes the fact they’re back in pads and he doesn’t have to hold up on a receiver over the middle.
“It’s relieving to be back playing in pads because I can finally show what kind of linebacker I really am and not just chasing a bunch of skinny dudes on the field,” said Kelly. “I can hit people as hard as I can now.”
The other benefit of Kelly playing with DB Guru was being able to travel to a slew of camps and unofficial visits, which he’ll do again next spring.
“I know with DB Guru, we go all over California and then we go to Vegas for the 7v7 tournament,” said Kelly. “All last year, I went to every single Pac-12 school in California so I get to do that again.”
Being the top-ranked player in the West in his class, and a top ten player nationally, has kept Kelly level-headed.
“It’s just me playing football,” said Kelly. “My rankings are just whatever I’m getting ranked. It’s fun to be a top 10 player, but it’s not too my head. I’m just playing football and having fun.”
Some of the fun comes from adding more offense to his resume.
“I’ve been doing a lot of tight end lately and I’ve been doing some slot too,” said Kelly. “I’d be cool with playing a little offense in college, as long as I’m handling my business on defense first. As long as I’m handling defense, I’m happy to help on offense.”
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