“It’s a great addition, a great pickup for (Clemson),” Spiller said Monday at St. John Fisher College. “He’ll definitely be a big success down there.”
Kelly, a former Tonawanda resident who now lives in Wheatfield, went from being known as the nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly to an Elite 11 finalist in a little less than a year at St. Joe’s, but Spiller said it’s important for Kelly to remain level-headed.
“The main thing for a guy like that is he’s going to have a lot of pressure because of his uncle, Jim Kelly,” he said. “The main thing is going down there and getting some wins and help bring a national championship.”
Spiller said he hasn’t talked to Kelly much, aside from brief messages via Twitter. Kelly, the 2010 Tonawanda News Player of the Year, committed to Clemson in late June. He received scholarship offers from other top programs, including Alabama and Florida State.
“When he went on his visit I happened to call coach (Dabo) Swinney and he just happened to be there and he was excited and I was excited for him,” Spiller said.
Spiller continues to be upbeat about his alma mater and would like to see Kelly excel as a Tiger.
“Hopefully it will work out for him,” Spiller said. “He’s a great kid and he’s a winner. He goes out and competes, so when he gets down there, it won’t be any different.”
As a junior, Kelly ran 86 times for 1,057 yards and 15 touchdowns. He completed 137-of-249 passes for 2,159 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. No other New York player has rushed for more than 1,000 yards and passed for more 2,000 yards in the same season.