That impressive playing career will not be ending anytime soon.
Wells officially signed Wednesday at Cass High to attend Maryville College next year as the jet-quick receiver, defensive back and kick returner will play for the Scots.
“I think what separated [Maryville] the most was the teammates. After I visited a couple of schools, I just felt it was home. It felt right,” Wells said. “The other schools I visited, they were pretty good football teams but I really didn’t get a good vibe about hanging out with the teammates like I did there.
“A lot of those schools didn’t make it seem like they were looking for my best interests, but as soon as I got to Maryville, they put me in the work study program, they are going to try and get me a job and stuff like that.”
“With his abilities, he can play both sides of the football. He’s passionate about the game, he’s gotten a lot stronger and he wants to make it a continuing career,” Cass head coach Rick Casko said. “Maryville had a really good year last year and the coaches were interested in him, so we’re really excited for him to have this opportunity. It’s great to come out of high school and have this opportunity, and to take advantage of it and get a degree.”
Wells, a three-year starter, played in varsity games all four years of his high school career. He made The Daily Tribune News All-County Team three times.
Wells burst onto the Bartow County football scene his sophomore year when he accounted for 242 all-purpose yards, including a 90-yard kickoff, in his first varsity start against Woodland on Aug. 26, 2011.
A strong sophomore campaign led to a record-setting junior season as Wells caught 52 passes for 857 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 62 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns. As a return man, Wells had a 12.6-yard punt return average and a 27-yard kickoff return average. He even threw for one touchdown as an emergency quarterback. For his efforts, Wells was selected to the All-Region 7-AAAA team as a wide receiver.
“Kelin got to play varsity as a freshman so he’s been a varsity football player for a long time. He was a very good middle school player, so we knew him when he was coming up and he’s proven that true. He had a great high school career,” Casko said. “His junior year, he had a tremendous year and he added on to it his senior year.
“He was a great athlete and he left his stamp on the program.”
Wells focused more on the defensive side of the ball his senior season. As a cornerback, he recorded 31 tackles, seven pass breakups, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
He still was able to help the Colonels on offense, rushing for 187 yards on a 10.25 yards per carry average with three touchdowns. He also added 101 receiving yards on the year.
“Last year, things changed offensively. His junior year, he was an all-region wide receiver. This year, he did a tremendous job playing in the secondary,” Casko said. “What he did a great job of is, he was a real team player. We really needed him in the secondary with so many teams that passed the football. He was on the field a lot on defense, but he played running back for us and he was on the depth chart as the quarterback.”
Wells went out with a bang in the final game of his career in a 46-14 victory over Southeast Whitfield on Nov. 8. Wells intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown to ice the game.
He also broke up three Southeast passes, recovered a fumble and carried the ball on offense two times for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Wells hopes to bring that same level of production to Maryville College in Tennessee, an NCAA Division III football program competing in the USA South Athletic Conference.
The Scots went 8-3 last year on their way to the program’s second consecutive USA South Athletic Conference title and the program’s first trip to the NCAA postseason.
Wells believes he will contribute as a slot receiver, although he could offer Maryville help in the secondary as well.
“I like their offense. It’s a spread,” Wells said. “[Maryville head coach Mike Rader] told me he wanted me to play slot receiver, which I like. He asked me to play [defensive back], but I prefer to play offense.”
“They had a very good year last year and have a great coaching staff, so he’s just a really good fit there,” Casko said of Maryville. “If he does what he can with his athletic ability, he’s going to have a great carerer.”