Kelly already a Tiger leader

by - Senior Writer -

Chad Kelly Chad Kelly
6-3, 205
Buffalo, NY

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decided that he and the rest of his future Clemson teammates who were in Oregon last week needed to show their Clemson colors.

So the 2012 Clemson verbal commitment went out and bought Jay Guillermo Jay Guillermo
Offensive Line
6-3, 285
Maryville, TN

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, Travis Blanks Travis Blanks
6-1, 180
Tallahassee, FL

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, T.J. Burrell T.J. Burrell
6-1, 205
Goose Creek, SC

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and Germone Hopper Germone Hopper
6-0, 175
Charlotte, NC

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t-shirts that were in Clemson colors, and each player put his name and state on the shirt.

The players were in Oregon for The Opening, an event sponsored by Nike Football at the Nike campus in Beaverton, Oregon. The competition is five days of training, coaching and competition for 150 of the country’s most elite high school football players, including those five commitments and several players who are high on Clemson’s list of remaining targets.

Kelly, however, wanted to make sure that everybody in Oregon knew what team he and the other four are headed to play for.

“That event was too much fun,” Kelly told TigerNet Sunday afternoon. “I had a great time, especially with G-Hop [Hopper] being on my team. I told all of the other Clemson guys ‘Hey, look. We are Clemson guys and we need everyone to know who we are.’ So I went out and bought us all t-shirts to wear that are Clemson colors and we put our name and state on there.”

Kelly said he and Hopper, who hooked up for a touchdown at Dabo Swinney’s camp last month and hooked up for another during the televised event, are already brothers.

“I can already call him a brother,” Kelly said. “Those touchdowns are the first of many, I hope. I have already gotten lots of messages from Clemson fans who saw it. I was even talking to center Jay Guillermo, and he said he was excited about us playing together one day. It was just great to be with all of the recruits we have going there. It is going to special in the next couple of years.”

To finish up the weekend, Kelly threw a 40 yard strike for the game winning touchdown in the 7 on 7 championship game Saturday.

All of the future Tigers drew solid reviews, but Blanks, a defensive back, drew some of the highest praise and Kelly said he can see why.

“I am glad I won't be playing against him in games when we get to college,” he said. “He had two interceptions and might have had a third. He is a big old target and he flies around to the ball. He is so big and lanky, and it will be difficult for teams to try and come after him.”

Guillermo echoed Kelly’s sentiments and said he was glad to be a part of the event.

“It is humbling to be picked for this event,” Guillermo said. “To be considered among the best in the country is an honor. We got here on Tuesday, and they took us to the Nike headquarters and then they gave us an introduction into what this was all about. It has been awesome so far.”

Guillermo said he did 1-on-1 drills on Thursday as part of Training Day, and his personal coach was former Ohio St. All-American and NFL player LeCharles Bentley.

“We did the drills where you line up against the defensive lineman,” he said. “You do pass and run drills, and the defensive lineman tries his best to get past you. Alex Boone of the San Francisco 49ers was helping us, and Bentley was our coach. It was awesome to learn from those guys because they are where I want to be. They have been through everything and they have done what I want to achieve. It’s nice to be coached by such high-caliber coaches.”

Guillermo said he has enjoyed listening to the talk about all of the different schools as well as getting to know his future Clemson teammates a little better.

“People are talking about where they are committed to and where they want to commit,” he said. “It’s just a bunch of guys and you hear a lot of different things. I have hung out with Chad, Travis, T.J. and Germone and I have talked to them a bunch.”

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