Former UCLA running back Joshua Kelley grew up in Lancaster without an NFL team to watch up close.
So when the Rams returned to Los Angeles before the 2016 season, Kelly took advantage of the opportunity and observed training camp practices at UC Irvine.
“It was kind of intimidating because I saw Aaron Donald, and like this dude is huge,” Kelley said Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine. “I saw Todd Gurley. Those guys are crazy big. I just soaked it up.”
The visits provided motivation.
“Just watching, just kind of like visualizing,” Kelley said, “Like one day, hopefully, I’ll be on an NFL roster at training camp. It was nice.”
After making a big impression at last month’s Senior Bowl, Kelley aims to continue his push to become an NFL player with a dynamic combine performance.
Kelley, 22, is among a 30-player running backs group that includes top prospects such as D’Andre Swift of Georgia, J.K. Dobbins of Ohio State, Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin and Clyde Edwards-Helaire of Louisiana State.
“Some of those guys are projected first-rounders,” Kelley said. “It’s great to be around them and it’s awesome just to be here.”
The combine is another step in what has been a long journey for the 5-foot-11, 212-pound Kelley, who transferred to UCLA in as a walk-on in 2017 after playing two seasons at UC Davis.
Kelley sat out his first season in Westwood because of NCAA…