Standing 6'3 200 lbs, Kelly is undersized at the moment but that didn't stop Vanderbilt from being the 1st school to extend him an offer.
The Peach State linebacker was honestly surprised by the Dores offer. He had been in contact previously with Vanderbilt linebacker's coach Chris Marve and while the conversations went well, Kelly wasn't sure if an offer would arrive. He is certainly excited now that it did and he holds great value in the fact that Vanderbilt was the first school to believe in him.
"I am very happy about my Vanderbilt offer. It's an offer I wanted very much, especially after being in contact with them. I had no idea the offer was coming when it did but I'm sure glad it did. I have had some great conversations with them and they already make me feel wanted. I don't want to say they are my top school but it really does mean a lot to me that they were the first school to show faith in me. It means a lot and I won't forget that," said Kelly.
The Commodores saw an athletic, play making defender whose best days of football are ahead of him when they offered. They saw someone who fit the Vanderbilt brand in many ways.
Kelly is a high academic kid who values education just as much as athletics. He see's Vanderbilt as a perfect institution for him explore life both on and off the football field.
"Iv'e always wanted to go to college simply for the experience itself but being able to play football while doing it, is another blessing in it's own," he said. "Education is very important to me. Football doesn't last forever, so I want to be able to succeed in life when my playing days are over. Vanderbilt might be the perfect place to achieve my life's goals. They are a strong academic school that offers a chance to play high level football. It would not only give me the chance to play great football but also give me a degree that could take me a long way in life. I have a lot of interest in Vanderbilt, so I'm interested in learning more about their school and football program."
Both Kelly and the Commodores will get a chance to know more about each other when the Hapeville Charter linebacker visits Nashville on March 18th for Vanderbilt's 1st Junior Day event of 2017.
"I can't wait to get up there on the 18th. Coach Marve invited me up for their Junior Day and I am excited to be there to see everything and meet the coaches. It will be my first time on campus, so it should be a great experience."
Besides his offer from Vanderbilt, Kelly has yet to see his recruitment take a spike upwards.
The Commodores are his lone offer and the main school in contact. Kelly appears ok with the lack of interest thus far because he knows it's a long process and it all comes down to choosing one school.
"I am mainly only talking with Vanderbilt. I have talked a few times with Navy as well. I have received letters from others schools but nothing solid like Vanderbilt or even Navy," Kelly said.
"I'm ok with that because honestly my recruitment is really just getting started. I know I have a long way to go with my development, so other schools will become interested in time. It really comes down to me just liking one school over the other and if I feel comfortable with that school, I'm ok with that."
Regardless of what happens with his recruitment, Kelly plans to keep the Commodores at the top.
"No matter what goes on from here on out with my recruitment, Vanderbilt will always remain in my Top 5 schools," he said. "Not many schools offer what Vanderbilt does, so it will be tough to find many other places to top them."