Miami got a massive recruiting win early on in Mario Cristobal’s tenure as head coach when Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Dillard 4-star DE Nyjalik Kelly committed to the Canes over Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, and Oregon on Wednesday afternoon.
BREAKING: Dillard four-star defensive lineman Nyjalik Kelly commits to Miami. pic.twitter.com/4LZZ929KSY— Adam Lichtenstein (@ABLichtenstein) December 15, 2021
A 6’4” 240lb edge rusher, Kelly is an All-American talent and among the best players at his position in the country. He is one of several elite edge rushers in South Florida this cycle, so getting him in the class is a big, big win for the Canes.
Early on, Kelly was thought to be favoring FSU. He’d taken unofficial visits there and to Miami, but had also taken an Official Visit to Tallahassee, and the Noles were trending up. But, even in spite of that, Miami stayed the course, and got Kelly on campus for multiple unofficial visits through the 2021 season. That was no small task, considering the Canes struggled mightily on the field this year, but still, Kelly came around the program.
Things really turned in recent weeks, however, when it looked like and eventually came to pass that then-Miami coach Manny Diaz was relieved of duties. Kelly said in an interview with 247sports that he wasn’t very fond of Diaz, but had a strong relationship with new HC Cristobal, a tireless recruiter who actually took point on Kelly’s recruitment. And that connection was pre-existing because Cristobal was recruiting Kelly to join his Oregon team before taking the Miami job. He even got Kelly to take an unofficial visit to Eugene, so there was definitely a connection there.
After Cristobal was announced as coach at Miami, things only ramped up between he and Kelly and The U. Cristobal visited Kelly on THE DAY he was introduced as head coach, and Kelly took and Official Visit to Coral Gables that same weekend. It was then that multiple predictions that Kelly would pick Miami came to the surface.
Miami obviously needs players of Kelly’s caliber to stay in South Florida, and in getting this commitment the Canes are taking a big step along that path. Kelly is the only lineman — offensive or defensive — committed to Miami in the 2022 class to this point, but he’s a building block for what could come either from the prep ranks or transfer portal.
For a better look at the player Miami is getting in Kelly, feast your eyes on the HUDL highlights below.