Louisville wanted to land a big-time linebacker for their 2013 recruiting class. Monday morning, Charlie Strong found his guy.
Three-star LB Keith Kelsey picked Louisville over USF and Kentucky on Monday
On the biggest recruiting weekend before signing day two weeks ago, Strong brought 13 prospects to campus for official visits, including three talented linebackers from Florida - Miami's Jermaine Grace, Orlando's Ro'Derrick Hoskins, an FSU commit, and Gainesville's Keith Kelsey.
After visiting Kentucky last weekend, Kelsey announced his decision Monday morning that he will play for the 2013 Sugar Bowl champions next season. Charlie Strong and assistant Brian Jean-Mary's visit with Kelsey last week after his official visit in Gainesville helped seal deal.
“It felt like home when I went there,” Kelsey told the Gainesville Sun. “I was comfortable with the players. So many of them are from Florida and they act just like my teammates. They’re real down to earth and I can relate to them a lot.”
Kelsey's father, Keith, played for Strong at Florida in the 1990's. That relationship gave the Cardinals the edge in landing the talented linebacker.
"It means a lot that my dad played for Coach Strong," Kelsey said. "I've known him since I was a young kid and have enormous trust in him."
“He’s just a great coach, not only on the field but off the field,” Kelsey told the Sun. “He cares about his players and he’s going to push you to be the best person you can be.”
“He wants me to come in and play right away. They need some linebackers to jump right into the rotation, so he’s looking for me to contribute as a freshman.”
A three-star prospect, Kelsey, 6-2, 225, is rated the No. 49 OLB prospect nationally by 247Sports. Considered one of the Top 80 prospects in Florida, Kelsey was named first team Class 6A All-State selection after recording 193 tackles as a senior. As a junior, Kelsey registered 165 tackles.
"He's a heck of player and he's going to contribute as a freshman wherever he goes," Gainesville coach James Thompson said. "With his work ethic he'll play right away."
Kelsey, who also visited USF, held offers from Wake Forest and Kentucky.
With NSD closing in, Kelsey becomes the 14th player to commit to play for Louisville next season. Though he's the first linebacker in Charlie Strong's recruiting class, the Cards are still awaiting decisions from at least other linebacker prospects, including Jermaine Grace and Lyn Clark, a three-star prospect from New Orleans scheduled to visit UofL this weekend.