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Penn-Trafford's Kelly to continue career at Mercyhurst

| Monday, March 20, 2017, 6:15 p.m.
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Penn-Trafford's Brendan Kelly signs a letter of intent along side his parents, Jeff and Elizabeth and his brother Aidan on March 9, 2017, at Penn-Trafford High School.

Penn-Trafford's leading tackler the past two seasons has found a place to continue his craft.

Senior Brendan Kelly committed to Mercyhurst, where he will continue to play football as a walk-on.

Choosing Mercyhurst was an easy decision for Kelly, who committed in late February.

“It was the best combination of education and sports,” said Kelly, who chose Mercyhurst over walk-on offers from Shippensburg and Robert Morris. “When I went to visit, I had the opportunity to hang out with some of the guys on the team. I felt like I belonged there.”

Kelly will continue to play linebacker at the college level. Although he did not receive a scholarship, he is excited for the opportunity and up for the challenge to earn it on the field and in the classroom, where he will be majoring in major intelligence studies and minoring in pre-law.

“There is just so much that they get with Brendan,” P-T coach John Ruane said. “Outstanding work ethic, high character on and off the field, unbelievable football IQ. He has the ability to break down film, so he is prepared for everything. And he will fight for his team.”

As dominant as the 6-foot, 215-pound Kelly was in high school, he is still looking to improve.

“Last year I injured my knee. Although I was able to play through it, I want to be 100 percent,” Kelly said. “I have to get bigger and stronger to continue to play at the level that I want to play, especially at the collegiate level.”

Ruane echoed Kelly's comments.

“Brendan will have to get bigger and stronger, but that comes with every player making that leap,” he said. “When you make that transition from high school to college, the level of play increases significantly.”

His ability to perform at such a high level, leading the team in tackles his senior season with a knee injury, are what gained the respect of his coaches and teammates, who followed his lead throughout the season.

Although Kelly will miss playing with his teammates at Penn-Trafford, he is excited about the transition to college.

“I am just thankful for the opportunity to continue to play the sport I love,” Kelly said. “I am hoping to get some defensive reps my freshman season and play some special teams. I am all for earning my job.”

It is a huge loss for the Penn-Trafford defense, but Ruane is excited for Kelly's opportunity at the next level.

“His leadership will be missed on and off the field,” Ruane said. “He was a big part of what we were doing here at Penn-Trafford. It will be hard to fill the hole, but we will be rooting for him.”

Cody Scott is a freelance writer.

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