Kelly impressive at Clemson football camp

by - Senior Writer -
Chad Kelly worked out in front of Clemson coaches, high school coaches and the assembled media on the practice fields behind Jervey Wednesday morning.

CLEMSON – The second session of Dabo Swinney’s Camp is filled with loads of Division 1 talent, but all eyes on Wednesday were on the kid from up north.

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

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, nephew of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and Clemson’s top quarterback prospect for 2012, worked out in front of Clemson coaches, high school coaches and the assembled media on the practice fields behind Jervey Wednesday morning, and my phone was alive with text messages, and they all had the same general question: How does he look?

The answer to that is simple – he looks pretty good.

A long-time college offensive coordinator was on hand this morning to see the action, and he watched Kelly for most of the session. I asked him his opinion, and he said Kelly has the look of a winner.

“I thought his feet and his footwork were phenomenal,” said the coordinator, who wanted his name left out of the story. “The ball really jumps off his hand. He has a lot of zip on the long out routes, and he shows pretty good touch on the deep balls. He also throws great on the run, which is what you have to have in Chad Morris’ offense.”

During the option drills, he was the fastest out of his group, and he hooked up with Clemson wide receiver commitment Germone Hopper Germone Hopper
6-0, 175
Charlotte, NC

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on a 45-yard deep ball that actually had people applauding on the sidelines.

Hopper said following the session that Kelly is the type of quarterback that makes it easy on wide receivers.

“It was nice to work with him,” Hopper said. “He throws an easy ball, one you can catch, but he still puts a lot on it. It was fun to work out with him. I hope we can get him.”

Kelly was there with two of his uncles, and the trio visited Alabama yesterday. They are leaving for Buffalo later this afternoon, and one of his uncles said Alabama made an impressive push and impression on the rising senior signal caller.

Kelly worked out for the Alabama coaches along with several of the Tide’s top prospects, and apparently was far and away the best on the field. His uncle said he isn’t sure if Chad has made up his mind as of yet, but after working the field and talking to several people, I would now say that Kelly is 70-30 a Clemson guy.

*Another quarterback who had an outstanding morning is Caleb Rowe of Blue Ridge High School. Rowe made EVERY throw – whether deep or short – and does it with uncanny accuracy. The assembled high school coaches on hand said that he was the best quarterback on the field on Wednesday, which is saying a lot because of the day that Kelly had. However, the two are different styles of quarterback – Rowe needs to go somewhere where he can be a pro-style quarterback, and Kelly looks extremely comfortable running the spread.

I talked to Rowe’s father following the session, and it was surprising when he said that only Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian had offered his son. Maryland and N.C. State are showing interest, however, and I have no doubt that one of the major programs is going to sign this kid and have a top performer in a few years.

*Speaking of Hopper, it was fun to watch the reaction of coaches and parents on the sidelines during his 1-on-1 drills and then during the 7-on-7 passing skeletons. He caught a 40-yarder from Rowe in which he simply blew past his guy, and he also showed a knack for finding soft spots in the middle of the coverage. Following one play, in which he used his hands to create the tiniest of separation with the cornerback, Hopper went up over the defender and pulled down a high pass in the corner of the end zone, prompting one coach to do a little dance and proclaim to everyone within hearing distance that “that cat can play!”

*The Tigers might be about to close out their defensive targets for the 2012 recruiting class, but Jack Britt (Fayetteville, NC) safety M.J. Salahuddin (6-3, 195) more than held his own against Hopper and some of the better receivers on hand. He certainly looks the part of a safety, and his father Sal told TigerNet that he will play safety and outside linebacker this year for Jack Britt. Sal said that N.C. State and East Carolina are showing the most interest, and he is taking his son on a football camp tour this week in order to drum up interest. It shouldn’t be too hard, because someone is going to get a pretty good player. His coach at Jack Britt, Richard Bailey, said Salahuddin is a “quiet leader.”

Kelly with his two uncles that made the trip to Clemson on Wednesday

Chad Kelly at Clemson football camp photo gallery

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