FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- There was palp[able buzz ahead of a big Broward County football matchup between Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard and Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High School Friday night.
Before the game, college-themed polos donned the sidelines as it was the first time in two years college coaches were permitted to get back on the road evaluating prospects. Among them was Florida State head coach Mike Norvell, kicking off his evaluation period watching two of Dillard's best in Nyjalik Kelly and Devaughn Mortimer.
A stout edge rusher, Kelly was committed to FSU for some time, but is now back on the open market. Sporting Seminole gloves in the contest, he made several plays in front of one of the coaches courting him most.
"It was cool for him to show the love and that he really wants me," Kelly said after Dillard's 21-0 win. "It was cool to see him watching my game in person instead of on a screen watching highlights.
'Norvell texts me a lot, they call me his best friend. He's just a cool person to be around. Just a cool coach, a good personality and he wants to win."
The senior took official visits to Oregon, LSU and Indiana in the summer, but this weekend he is set to be in Tallahassee as the Seminoles open the season against Notre Dame on Sunday.
"Just to go have fun, watch games, watch their game and how they coach their guys up," he said. "I want to see how they coach up the D-ends, too. I know they coach them well and it will be a good battle against Notre Dame."
Kelly is expecting to take his recruitment the distance, with plans to lock in with one program on National Signing Day in December.
Mortimer has been committed to Florida State since mid March and told SI All-American he wasn't considering additional programs going forward considering he is "100 percent locked in."
He is also courting his close friend and teammate Kelly on a daily basis.
"I'm on him every day because the group we have committed now could actually turn FSU around," he said. "If he comes and joins us, we could be dominant."
Of course playing in front of Norvell was a unique opportunity and he splashed with several receptions down the field.
"I heard he was coming to the game so of course I had to practice hard from Monday on," Mortimer said. "Just wanted to work hard and have a good game, and it showed. I went to the slot and everything opened up tonight.
"I'm a hard-working guy but the main thing about me is my speed, it's what separates me from a lot of people. There's a lot of big linebackers and cornerbacks but the thing that separates me is speed."
The in-state verbal commitment, who will also take the trip to Tallahassee with Kelly this weekend, says he will likely run track in the spring, graduate and enroll at Florida State next summer.
Dillard High School is 2-1 thus far in the 2021 season.