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July 5, 2013

Kelly ready for senior year run

Webb School of Knoxville has a rich history on the football field and defensive back Todd Kelly Jr. only continues to build that tradition. The Tennessee commitment has been laying low this summer, but he's also working hard.

"It's been going well," Kelly said. "I've just been working hard and I've gained some weight. I've been working on my strength and I've gotten faster. I've gained about ten pounds of muscle. It's good see the hard work pay off. Working hard you get to see the outcome and lets you know that you can't slack off. You just have to keep pushing."

Two years ago, Kelly had Caleb Blance as his running mate in the backfield. Then it was Aaron Blance last season providing a 1-2 punch for the Spartans. It's a younger group, but Kelly believes others will step up and do what it takes to be successful.

"It's very important to have guys step up," Kelly said. "Every person on our team has a role. It's not just me and it's not just the quarterback. There are eleven guys on the field and they all have the same goal. I know everyone will do whatever it takes to win a state championship."

He's been an All-State performer and won multiple state championships in his first three seasons. The goal always remains the same, but Kelly does want to achieve a few different things this fall.

"I want to go undefeated because it would be special for my senior year as a Spartan," Kelly said. "I'd love get a pick-six in a meaningful game as well, like against Catholic or in the playoffs. It's something I've done about three times, but not to many teams throw and when they do it's not to my side of the field."

Once Kelly arrives at Tennessee, he'll be laying the lumber in the defensive backfield. His final year at the prep level will include one last chance to play on the offensive side and he definitely plans on enjoying his touches.

"I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can," Kelly said. "My grandfather told me that he enjoys seeing me on offense. I just love to make plays for my team. It's fun to get out there and get the ball and make plays. I just try to run hard and make things happen for my team and see what happens when I get in open space."

When Kelly arrived on the high school scene, his Spartans had just one win in their last eight games against rival Knoxville Catholic. The talented defender is yet to lose to the Irish and he doesn't plan on that happening on his watch.

"I love it because they are right up the street," Kelly said. "I almost went there with Vic Wharton. They have a new coaching staff so it's got some new stuff to the rivalry and it's always intense when you play your rival. I get pumped up to play Catholic."

When he lines up at safety against the Irish in a televised Thursday game in the Knoxville market, Kelly could very well be facing the son of Vol defensive coordinator John Jancek. Zac Jancek is in the mix to be the starting quarterback for the Irish.

"We've talked about it some," Kelly said. "It's all in good fun. He said he is excited to play against me and I'm excited to play against him. He will want to win and I want to win."

Kelly looks forward to being inside Neyland Stadium this fall. Feeling the atmosphere and hearing the crowd. Running through the T will be a dream fulfilled in 2014, but he loves spending time with his future teammates.

"I love hanging out with my teammates," Kelly said. "We communicate about every day and we have a lot of fun. I don't go up to UT as much as people might think. I want to minimize my visits that way when I go, I'll enjoy it more."

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