Greg Kelley to play football at Eastern Michigan after wrongful child sex crime conviction was overturned

Greg Kelley, a former Texas high school football player who had his 2014 conviction in a child sexual assault case overturned due to a faulty investigation, will play football on scholarship for Eastern Michigan. He made the announcement on an Instagram post uploaded on Saturday.

“We believe that much of Greg’s youth has been taken away from him and we want to give him the opportunity to live out his dream of playing Division I football,” Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton said Saturday, per ESPN.

Kelley was arrested his senior year of high school in 2013 for allegations of sexual abusing a 4-year-old child. He was convicted a year later and sentenced for 25 years without possibility of parole. He had been fighting to overturn his conviction ever since it was handed down, but the campaign really picked up steam when Shawn Dick, a newly elected Williamson County district attorney, reopened the case.

Kelley was released on bond in 2017, with his attorney filing that another man had admitted to the crimes and evidence showing there were many faults in the investigation — the kids who accused him of the crimes were never shown photographs to confirm Kelley’s identity, for example. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals finally overturned his conviction in November, where he was declared innocent and fully exonerated.

Though he may be 25, there’s some belief that he could make a legitimate impact on the field. Former Texas running back Jeremy Hills, a trainer with clients including Earl Thomas III and Landon Collins, has been training Kelley since he moved back to Austin last fall. From what he told ESPN, Kelley’s got some serious talent.

“You really start looking at Greg and realize not only can this kid move well, he’ll probably play on Saturdays at a big-time program,” Hills said. “Like, I realized this wasn’t charity work. This was an actual ballplayer.”

Kelley, a safety, was verbally committed to play football at Texas-San Antonio before his arrest and wrongful conviction. He tried to walk on to the Texas Longhorns in the beginning of 2017, but was told the team was not taking walk-ons that season.

His case gained popularity thanks to “Outcry,” a five-hour Showtime documentary series released in July that focuses on his conviction and the six-year attempt to overturn it.

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