White County’s Kelley Signs Fishing Scholarship For Kentucky Christian

Story and Photos by Kailee Means

White County senior Eli Kelley decided to further his academic and fishing career at Kentucky Christian University on Friday morning.

Kelley is one of the first White County High School students to receive a college scholarship for fishing.

“I am super excited and hope that I am leading the way for more fishing scholarships,” Kelley said.

Kelley has had a great senior season so far. At Watts Bar Lake, he and Hunter Sloan brought back five fish for 12.70. At his last state tournament, he and Sloan secured fourth place by bringing back four fish for 9.2.

“It’s been great,” Kelley said. “Everybody has been supporting me on my way, and every level I have been to, everyone has been there supporting me. It is a great community.”

Kelley performed in a combine at Alabama when Kentucky Christian University noticed him. Kelley and the coach talked, and he was offered a scholarship right there.

“I met him down at the BassMaster combine down in Alabama a few months ago,” Kelley said. “We just really hit it off. I like him, he’s a good dude and he liked me. We got to talking and he offered me a scholarship and I took it.” 

Kentucky Christian University talks about putting Christ first. This was something that also made Kelley choose them, besides them having a good fishing program.

“Christ first honestly,” Kelley said. “Their fishing program has really taken off within the past few years. The college is behind their fishing program and I like that.”

Kelley hopes that he has opened a door for other students to be able to get fishing scholarships. 

“Everyone can now see a college fishing scholarship is attainable and that they can get that and work towards it,” Kelley said.