February 10, 2008

Kelley fulfills a life-long dream


Whether he wanted to put all of his chips in the middle of the table or not, Austin (Texas) Lake Travis offensive lineman Paden Kelley has been all-in as it relates to the Texas Longhorns for quite a few years.

As one of the state's top offensive line prospects, Kelley was likely going to have his choice of scholarship offers throughout the year to choose from, but there was only one offer that really mattered.

As a life-long fan of the Texas Longhorns, Kelley has been to numerous camps in Austin since he was old enough to know what a helmet is. He's been to games, he's cheered for a national championship and he's dreamed of suiting up in burnt orange.

Try as he might to minimize his love for the Longhorns, Kelley has been all-in for a quite a long time.

He's known it. College coaches across the country have known it. Really, everyone in the recruiting world has known it.

On Sunday Kelley's all-in landed him the equivalent of quadruple-up, as the Texas coaching staff offered the 6-6, 285-pound tackle the opportunity to fulfill his dream.

"I was pretty hopeful and pretty optimistic," Kelley said. "When he sat me down in his office and told me that I had been approved for a scholarship, I was really excited. I told him I was ready to commit right there. It didn't take long to give him an answer.

"I'm supposed to say that I jumped on the offer like a fat kid on cake."

With the commitment, Kelley joins fellow Lake Travis star Garrett Gilbert as a building block for the entire 2009 recruiting class for the Longhorns.

"That's a dream come true. We've been playing together since the third grade. That's really cool to know that I'm getting ready to block for him in college."

As far as today's visit to the 40 Acres is concerned, Kelley mentioned that the UT staff reminded him exactly why he wanted to be a Longhorn in the first place.

"One of my favorite things today was just the staff's dedication," Kelley said. "They treat all of their players like family. They opened up their arms to all of us and that's one of the things I love the most about them. They were straight-forward with everything."

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