GHS standout picks Louisville
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 9:40 a.m.
The state of Florida has produced another prospect for Louisville coach Charlie Strong.
His latest addition is Gainesville High linebacker Keith Kelsey Jr., who verbally committed to the Cardinals on Monday morning.
Kelsey chose Louisville over Kentucky and USF, among others. He officially visited all three schools this month. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was named first-team all-state by The Associated Press after registering 193 tackles in his senior season, including 14 in the state championship game.
Kelsey is the 14th member of Louisville's 2013 class and the seventh from the Sunshine State. This past year, Strong had 34 Floridians on his roster.
“It felt like home when I went there,” Kelsey said. “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 was visited by Strong at GHS last Tuesday and is eager to learn from the former UF defensive coordinator.
“He's just a great coach, not only on the field but off the field,” Kelsey said. “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.”
Louisville started recruiting Kelsey as a junior and offered him his second scholarship. The Cardinals' 2012 campaign sold him on the school.
“They started showing me more interest this year,” Kelsey said, “and I started having more interest in them because they were ranked high and winning a lot of ball games. Then when I saw them beat Florida, I knew they were for real.”
Cedderick Daniels, Gainesville's co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, said the Cardinals are getting a proven performer and student of the game.
“I'm very proud of Keith,” Daniels said. “It's a great move for him and Louisville. He has always excelled with everything and the stats speak for themselves.
“His film study is going to help him out the most. It's one thing to play football, everybody can do that to a certain extent. But he knows the game so well and he's able to identify plays before they happen. I think he's going to do very well.”
Kelsey's father, Keith Sr., played linebacker at Florida from 1995-1999 and helped the Gators win the 1996 national championship. He graduated from Newberry High and was The Sun's Area Defensive Player of the Year in 1994.
The younger Kelsey looks forward to representing his city and school at Louisville.
“I'm really excited about the opportunity to play college football and rep Gainesville on that big of a stage,” Kelsey said. “It feels good to be able to come out of GHS and say I'm doing something with my life.”