Shortly after Lake Travis High School brought home a state championship, its two star players, Garrett Gilbert and Paden Kelley, became the first two members of Texas’ 2009 recruiting class. Kelley has been working hard all summer to ensure that Lake Travis has a chance to win back-to-back titles, but he knows it won’t be easy.
The Lake Travis Cavaliers will have a significantly different look this fall. They lost several key performers on the defensive side of the ball after their state championship run and welcomed in a new coaching staff during the off-season. However, Lake Travis still has Garrett Gilbert and Paden Kelley in the fold, giving them a good shot at repeating.
“We lost a few guys on defense, but a bunch of our younger kids are maturing well,” Kelley said when asked about the possibility of another state title. “I think we have a better shot than we did last year. Our new coaching staff kills you in workouts.”
“We know that we are going to have a target on our backs,” Kelley added. “We are just going to have to push harder and harder, knowing that everybody is going to give us their best shot.”
As far as individual goals, Kelley hopes to earn First Team All-State honors as an offensive lineman during his senior season. Kelley might also get a chance to play both sides of the ball during the fall.
“Our new coaching staff wants me to play some defense this year. I want to kill some quarterbacks,” Kelley laughed. “I just want to get into the backfield and hit somebody.”
Kelley has high expectations for both his team and himself in 2008. The Lake Travis tackle has been very dedicated to working hard in the weight room this summer. He works out with his teammates three days a week but also puts in a little extra.
“We’ve had workouts three days a week, and the offensive line works out on Wednesdays for about two hours. It’s pretty intense,” Kelley said. “Earlier this summer, I went on vacation in Colorado and even found a gym up there where I could work out.”
Kelley attended camp in Austin earlier this summer and was very impressed with the level of competition that the Longhorns are bringing in next year.
“It was a lot of fun hanging out with my future teammates. It felt like a whole other level of competition in one-on-ones,” Kelley said. “We were showing each other who we were. It was fun to get after it and know that those guys are going to be on your team in the future.”
“Dominique (Jones) went against one kid and blew by him, and Alex Okafor is crazy good,” Kelley said of standout camp performances. “He just shook people all day.”
Since camping in Austin, Kelley has stayed in touch with several of his future teammates, proving just how close this class has already become.
“I talk to all of the offensive linemen. We are all pretty tight and have become pretty good friends,” Kelley said. “Marcus Davis texts me a lot. He is always joking around. He is a character. Dominique is funny too. He’ll call me up sometimes.”