Between the white lines, Wando (Mt. Pleasant, S.C) offensive lineman Nolan Kelleher is intimidating.
The 6-foot-6, 295-pounder plays guard and tackle for Wando, and is a tremendous athlete that can block in space and loves contact.
Off the field, Kelleher is different. He is as studious, straight "A" student that is currently preparing for the Advanced Placement Calculus exam as a junior in high school.
As smart as Kelleher may be, he will be the first to admit that he didn't expect his recruitment to blow up quite like it has.
"It seems like all of these offers came up on me in about two weeks," Kelleher said. "It went pretty fast for me and it has been just so busy since. It is unbelievable what is happening."
A couple of weeks ago, the Palmetto State lineman made the trip down to Georgia for the Bulldogs' annual G-Day Scrimmage.
After having a chance to reflect on the visit, Kelleher has nothing but positive things to say about his trip to Athens.
"It was awesome. I loved it," he said. "All the coaches treated me great. I had a personal escort around campus and everything went great. I love the campus and love the football program. I heard about the great new engineering program and I want to go into engineering myself. I mean, I just loved it down there."
As cliché as it sounds, recruiting is all about relationships and in Kelleher's visit to UGA, he had a chance to spend some time with the Georgia coaches in person for the first time.
"Coach (Will) Friend really showed me a lot of attention and respect," Kelleher said of his time with the Georgia staff. "He showed me that he is really interested in me. It was just great. I got to talk to Coach (Mark) Richt. He had a nice long discussion with me and I was just amazed at how much time they were putting towards me."
What was Richt's message to the three-star tackle?
"It was really interesting because what he said is something like, would you ever consider coming to our school? If you are, we really want you there," he said. "It was really humbling to be down there and it was a great experience."
As a prospect who holds double digit offers, Kelleher understands that schools are going to be coming at him from different directions.
He knows that programs are working hard to get him to visit and to attend its camps, and Georgia is in that group that is making Kelleher feel wanted.
"All the schools are basically just coming on me really hard. I have a bunch of schools that want me to give them a call. They all want to stay in touch and everything like that. Georgia is definitely up there in the top with that," Kelleher said. "Georgia is really, really recruiting me hard and especially when I was down there. Coach Friend spent a lot of time with me and told me that I am a lineman they really want. Some of the other schools are recruiting me hard are NC State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Duke, and Florida State. Florida State has really been recruiting me hard and they say that they would love to have me as a tackle down there. They tell me the really need me down there. It is kind of a whirlwind with these schools coming up."
Unlike many prospects who will have until the first Wednesday in February and beyond to decide, Kelleher, who has plans to enroll early, will have to make his decision sometime in December.
With the process being accelerated for him, he plans to make a decision in next few months.
"I think I'm going to start narrowing things down maybe before the summer. If not, it will be the beginning of the summer," he said of his timeline. "I'm probably going to make a decision before the end of the summer if all goes well."
When the time comes to narrow things down and make a decision, Kelleher will be looking at a few things that help him make up his mind.
"Well I basically made a decision before this process even started that I would take everything into consideration, Kelleher said. "I do love a good football program I could go to, but I also want an engineering program to fall back on. I want to be in a good place and a good campus that feels like home. I want a place that has a lot to do and there are a lot of genuinely good people there. Basically, what is going to do it for me is where I feel at home."
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