Todd Kelly Jr., a former Tennessee defensive back who was a redshirt senior during the 2018 season, announced his retirement from football on Wednesday.
Kelly dealt with injuries throughout his career as a Vol. He graduated with a degree in Biological Sciences last May and was inducted into the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.
“After meeting with several specialists, I have been advised to retire from the game of football due to the damage done to my knee over my career,” Kelly said in a tweet. “This diagnosis will hinder me from pursuing a career in the NFL; nevertheless, I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me the rest of my life.”
Kelly played for Tennessee for the last five seasons. Before signing with Tennessee, he was a four-star prospect from Webb School in Knoxville.
During his freshman season, Kelly recorded 33 tackles and three interceptions, which was an SEC-best among freshmen. He was named to the Freshman All-SEC Team.
In 2015, Kelly once again tallied three interceptions. He was fifth on the team with 44 tackles.
Kelly led the team in tackles in 2016, his junior season, with 71. He also added two interceptions.
His 2017 season came to an early end when he suffered a season-ending injury after recording seven tackles after two games. Kelly started two games in 2018 and finished with 16 tackles during his redshirt senior season.
Despite injuries derailing his career, Kelly is thankful for the opportunity he had at Tennessee.
“As a Knoxville native, the hope and dream of one day playing in Neyland Stadium was my childhood dream,” Kelly said in the tweet. “I never imagined that God would bless me with the memories, moments, and opportunities that He has.”
Kelly’s father, Todd Kelly Sr., starred for Tennessee in the 1990s and played four seasons in the NFL.