High School Sports

After picking up ACC and Big 12 offers, Coast running back ‘shuts down’ his recruitment

Ocean Springs running back Micah Kelly (3) runs with the ball against St. Martin on Oct. 10, 2018, at St. Martin.
Ocean Springs running back Micah Kelly (3) runs with the ball against St. Martin on Oct. 10, 2018, at St. Martin. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com file

In late December, Ocean Springs senior running back Micah Kelly finally began to pick up the scholarship offers he’d long hoped for.

Arkansas State, Colorado State and Western Kentucky were among the schools that lined up to recruit him, but Kelly finally settled on Toledo as his top choice and verbally committed to the Rockets on Jan. 18.

He had hoped that the announcement would serve as the culmination of a “crazy” recruiting process, but that turned out not to be the end for Kelly.

Not long after he announced his verbal pledge to Toledo, new Louisville running backs coach Norval McKenzie called Kelly and informed him that he had a scholarship offer waiting on him with the Cardinals.

North Carolina State and Kansas State soon followed with their own offers and Kelly indicated in a Jan. 22 tweet that his recruitment had reopened with Toledo, Louisville, Kansas State and North Carolina State all in the running.

On Wednesday, Kelly told the Sun Herald that he has made his final decision ahead of National Signing Day on Feb. 6.

“I’m going to Toledo. I’m shutting it down,” he said. 

Kelly said he called Toledo head coach Jason Candle last week to inform him that he decided his first choice was the right one.

“They stuck by my side throughout the whole process,” he said. “They were one of the first schools to offer me and it’s the best situation for me in terms of education and where I’m trying to make it in an athletics as well.”

Kelly admits that the new offers gave him good reason for pause.

“It was kind of stressful,” he said. “It was nice to get offers from the other schools, but I had to think about who had my best interests at heart.”

Toledo was one of the programs that recruited Kelly the hardest with Candle even making a trip to Ocean Springs to visit with Kelly in the middle of January.

“It really came down to my relationship with the head coach,” Kelly said. “It’s a stable program and they’ve been in bowl games the past (five) years. They have a similar offense to what I’ve been running in high school.”

Kelly ran 263 times for 1,560 yards and 16 touchdowns during his senior year at Ocean Springs. He also caught 10 passes for 150 yards and two scores.

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.