After missing his sophomore season in 2019 due to a knee injury, Greenville (S.C.) High Academy 2022 wide receiver Aalijah Kelly is motivated to get back on the field and show what he can do during his upcoming junior campaign.
“I’m really looking forward to it a whole lot,” he told The Clemson Insider. “I’ve been working almost seven days a week to get back to where I was and actually go beyond that. So, I’m very looking forward to it, and I really hope I have a breakout season and can do what I was supposed to do this season that just passed.”
Although he wasn’t able to suit up last season, Kelly (6-4, 170) is still getting interest from a number of college programs, including Clemson.
The Tigers stopped by Greenville High during the January contact period to check on Kelly, the son of former Clemson running back Yusef Kelly.
“It means a lot,” Aalijah said of the Tigers showing interest. “Clemson has always been one of my top schools that I would want to go to because of my dad playing with them, and just me always watching them as I grew up, it means a lot.”
Aalijah named some of the other programs that came through his school to inquire about him during the contact period.
“I had a lot of schools stop by,” he said. “But the main ones that asked about me were Virginia Tech, they stopped by, App State stopped by, Clemson stopped by and asked about me, South Carolina stopped by and asked about me. There were some other schools, but I can’t remember off the top of my head.”
Aalijah participated in the Dabo Swinney Camp last June before unfortunately tearing his ACL later that month. However, he is nearing the end of his recovery and will soon be able to resume playing.
“It happened June 21, and my surgery was July 25,” he said. “It was about six months ago, and I’m feeling good. I really feel like I can play now, but the surgeon won’t clear me till nine months so I don’t re-injure it. But I’m feeling good. No pain.”
Aalijah intends to camp at Clemson again this summer and also plans to showcase his talent at some other college camps.
“I want to go back to the Clemson camp like this past year, and I also want to go to South Florida because I think I had a good connection with Coach Jeff Scott,” he said. “So I also want to go there, and I think I’m going to go to North Carolina and Duke.”
When he is back on campus for the Swinney Camp in June, Aalijah hopes to build a relationship with new Clemson receivers coach Tyler Grisham.
“I don’t really know much about him,” Aalijah said, “but I want to meet him and get to know him.”
Aalijah hasn’t made many unofficial visits lately, though he was able to attend a game at Virginia Tech early last season.
“I went to Virginia Tech, but I haven’t gone to a lot because I’ve been working out so much,” he said. “I’ve been focused on trying to get back, and less on my recruitment, but more trying to get back to get better than I was before I got hurt.”
Aalijah is excited to return to action this year and is looking to turn heads with his performance as a wide receiver.
“I really want to show how different I am from everybody – not with just catching and route-running, but my blocking ability, my game, my IQ and all that,” he said. “I want to be able to show colleges that, so I’m ready to go and show that when I come back.”
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