His high school coach Brian Byers persuaded him to give football a chance.
“He said, ‘I need you to come out for football.’ I really wasn’t feeling football,” Kelly said. “He said, ‘Come out for one practice. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to come play. He said to me, even before I got any offers, he said he sees a Division I athlete in me.”
Byers knew that with his size and agility, Kelly had an opportunity to be a dominant high school football player.
“I think there was a lot of people telling him that he was a big-time basketball player,” Byers said. “I looked at him. ‘You’re 6-foot-5 and a post player. That’s not Division I.… You’re definitely a Division I, big-time football player, though.’”
As a junior, Kelly had 42 tackles, 10 for loss, and eight sacks.
Kelly will play his senior season in basketball to defend his school's Class 6A state title and then enroll at Clemson in the fall.
His total list of offers include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Baylor, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Penn State, TCU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Wisconsin. Clemson offered on 3/25/15 after he de-committed from Kansas State on 3/21/15.