MOUNT PLEASANT — Neither rain, nor sleet nor dark of night has stopped the local mailman from delivering recruiting letters to Wando football standout Nolan Kelleher.
When asked how many letters he’s received from colleges over the past year, Kelleher just shakes his head and says, “I don’t know.”
Perhaps, only his mailman knows for sure.
Kelleher is a 6-5½, 300-pound offensive lineman who has the speed and quickness of a player much smaller. He wears a size 18 shoe and has a big target on his back. Just about every school in the country is aiming for the big man, who begins his fourth season as a starter at Wando.
“From Harvard to Alabama, I’ve heard from them all,” Kelleher said. “It started in late September last year when Virginia Tech visited me. It’s been pretty much non-stop since then.”
But the recruiting process could come to an end Saturday if Kelleher announces his decision, which he is expected to do. Until then, the coaches and fans from Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina State will hold their collective breaths.
Kelleher said the recruiting process has become a distraction, and he wants it to be over before classes begin.
“I want to focus on my academics,” he said. “I want to be a mechanical engineer.”
If Kelleher sticks to his plans, he won’t be the first engineer in his family. His father, Pete, is a nuclear engineer.
“For some guys, the recruiting process can’t end soon enough,” said Wando coach Jimmy Noonan, whose team won 10 regular-season games for the first time in school history last season. “Nolan is a well-balanced young man with academics up there among his priorities. Recruiting, especially with the social media, can become a burden.”
Kelleher wouldn’t bite when asked about rumors he is leaning in Clemson’s direction. If the engineering thing doesn’t work out, he might have a future in politics.
“I can’t make a wrong decision based on the colleges involved,” Kelleher said. “But I still have business to take care here at Wando. We have some great skill people and the best coaches. Last year was a special season, but this fall can be just as good.”