The investigation also resulted in the resignation of UCF athletic director Keith Tribble. Kelly and Tribble were both named in a 16-page NCAA report released by UCF on Wednesday.
Kelly is regarded as the top recruiter on UCF's football-coaching staff and one of the top recruiting coaches in the country.
- Pictures: UCF fans and tailgaters
- Tyson Summers tabbed to called UCF defensive plays
- UCF scores monumental Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor, proves it belongs in big leagues
- Pictures: UCF and Baylor at the Fiesta Bowl
- Pictures: New UCF football uniforms
- Video: Pregame at Fiesta Bowl
- UCF Knights
- College Football
- College Sports
See more topics »
UCF President John Hitt mentioned Kelly's contribution to the program during Wednesday's news conference.
"Well, you've got a head coach whose been in football for decades and whose contacts around the country are very broad and deep," Hitt said. "I would assume that coach [George] O'Leary would already be thinking about who he might bring in, and we'll see how successful he is at finding another David Kelly."
In 2010, Rivals.com ranked Kelly as one of the top 25 recruiters in college football after being responsible for bringing in quarterback Jeff Godfrey (Miami Central), receiver Josh Reese (Miami Central) and offensive lineman Torrian Wilson (Miami Northwestern). Godfrey has been the starting quarterback since Game 3 of last year, Wilson started last week against Tulsa and Reese is the third-leading receiver, with 22 catches.
Kelly also found J.J. Worton last year, and the redshirt freshman from Miami South Dade is UCF's second-leading receiver, with 25 catches.
This year's main freshmen contributors brought in by Kelly are kick returner Ranell Hall (Miami Carol City), redshirt safety Clayton Geathers (Georgetown, S.C.) and redshirt defensive end LeBranden Richardson (Miami Central).
His departure will likely have an immediate impact on the Knights' current and future recruiting efforts. There are at least three top Orlando-area seniors who have UCF in their top-five lists of schools for college consideration.
Most players contacted by the Sentinel on Wednesday had learned of the news or been contacted by UCF personnel.
Wide receiver Dvario Montgomery of Winter Park, the No. 4 player in the Sentinel's 2012 Central Florida Super60 ,could not be reached for comment, while Edgewater teammates receiver Alton "Pig" Howard (ranked No. 3) and safety Karl Joseph (No. 7) did not want to comment immediately after initially hearing the news from the Sentinel.
Devin Washington, a junior defensive end at Orlando Jones High and the No. 3 player in the Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60, had already learned of Kelly's resignation, and he called it "devastating news."
"I have to do some serious thinking now with UCF because Coach Kelly was one of the main reasons why I wanted to go there," said Washington, who had Georgia Tech and UCF as his top two teams in the early stages of his recruiting.
UCF prospect DeAndre Jasper of Miami Jackson has a final four list of UCF, Auubrn, FIU and Marshall. He was obviously upset upon learning the news by phone Wednesday.
"That's a big change that they made," said Jasper, who could also be heard expressing some verbal anger as he hung up the phone.Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Brendan Sonnone is a part-time contributor for Sentinel Recruiting.