Back in early June, Xavier Kelly, the 6-foot-5-inch defensive end from Wichita, Kansas, had received about 30 offers from colleges across the nation and said he would wait and make his final decision Jan. 9 at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Kelly had mentioned he didn’t have a single school at the top of his radar yet, but would continue making visits to the various schools he has offers from.
“It’s going to be a hard choice to make because they’re all great schools with great programs,” Kelly said. “I’m going to talk to my parents about it and it will probably be a family made decision.”
Now it’s August and Kelly has officially announced his commitment to play for Dabo Swinney and Clemson. After several visits to various schools, Kelly said that Clemson was the place where he felt the most comfortable.
— xavier kelly (@xavierkelly22) July 30, 2015
“Clemson has a family environment, good academics and good football, so it’s nothing but great,” Kelly explained. “I just feel like it’s the best place for me.”
Kelly explained he made his decision earlier than expected because he knew Clemson was the place he wanted to be. He didn’t want to lie to the other coaches and take up the time they could use to go recruit other kids, he said. With recruitment out of the way, Kelly described the advantages of being committed.
“Now I can really focus on my upcoming season and focus on school,” Kelly said. “I really don’t have that much pressure on me anymore now that I am committed.”
With Kelly’s final season of high school football on the horizon, he explained his responsibility to step up as a leader now that he is a committed player.
“I’m going to have an impact on the other players, and people are going to look at me and respect the things I do,” Kelly said. “I have to make sure I’m a leader and doing things I’m supposed to because other people are going to look at me and it’s going to have an effect on them.”
😍😍can't wait!! pic.twitter.com/Cbee42Q8U8
— xavier kelly (@xavierkelly22) July 27, 2015
Kelly described himself as a player with a high motor. He said he is going to give it a 100 percent every time, not look back at mistakes and keep moving forward. In order to become a better player for next season, Kelly said he’s working hard on getting stronger and faster. He went on to talk about Clemson and how the school looks heading towards the future.
“I feel like we have a good recruiting class and I feel like we can do a lot of great things, especially under coach Dabo Swinney,” Kelly said. “I think we have a very bright future ahead of us.”
With one final season in high school keeping him from playing with Clemson, Kelly made it clear that his team’s goal next season is to win championships and continue to improve. Kelly made it a personal goal of his to get at least one sack per game next season. With those goals in mind, Kelly said he expects to have a great senior season.
“I can be a little bit more focused this season and not worry about a lot of coaches pressuring me,” Kelly explained. “I can just relax, enjoy the season and have fun.”
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