Morris gets his quarterback

by - Senior Writer -
Photo from the Kelly announcement (Lauren Mariacher)
Photo from the Kelly announcement (Lauren Mariacher)

Chad Morris got his man, and the Clemson Tigers got their quarterback for the 2012 recruiting cycle.

St. Joseph’s (Buffalo, NY) quarterback Chad Kelly Chad Kelly
6-3, 205
Buffalo, NY

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said during a press conference at his school on Thursday that he was committing to the Clemson Tigers following a whirlwind three months.

“I'm very excited to play football at Clemson,” Kelly said during the press conference. “ It was a very difficult decision. All the schools I visited are great schools, and I could have been happy playing for any of them. But it came down to where I felt most comfortable and which school offered me the best opportunity to succeed both on and off the field.”

Morris, Clemson’s new offensive coordinator, said he was going to take just one quarterback in this cycle, and he offered the nephew of former NFL and Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly back in March, as was first reported by TigerNet.

Morris made several trips to see Kelly, who also visited Clemson during the Orange and White Game and camped at Dabo Swinney’s Camp on Wednesday of this week.
Kelly said it was his relationship with the Clemson coaches that made the decision easier.

"First, I fell in love with Clemson the first time I visited the school and it all started with Coach Swinney, who not only really knows the game, but how to get the players prepared in school and in life,” Kelly said. “I'm really excited to play in Coach Morris's wide-open offense and the way they keep defenses off balance.

“I've had the best relationship with Coach Morris from day one. I believe he gives me the best opportunity to be prepared for the future. Clemson also had one of the top recruiting classes in the country for 2011. I can't forget to mention the academic side of it. They really put a major emphasis on the academics and making sure we all get a degree."

Kelly’s high school head coach, Dennis Gilbert, said Clemson is a perfect fit for his rising senior.

“I am excited for Chad, his family and his decision to play for Clemson University,"Gilbert said. "Although there were a number of great schools that showed interest in Chad, he fell in love with Clemson University from his first visit. The school and the football program are a good fit for Chad that he can grow with.”

Jim Kelly, Chad’s Hall of Fame uncle, also released a statement through the school that said he liked Morris’ offense.

"I'm really excited that Chad chose Clemson, the former Buffalo Bills quarterback said. “I'm sure it was a tough decision as they are all top schools and I'm sure he will enjoy his experience at Clemson. I spoke to Coach Morris and I like his offensive philosophy."

The 6-3, 208-pounder chose Clemson over offers from Alabama, Florida St., Buffalo, Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Michigan St., Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Western Michigan.
The dual threat quarterback ran 86 times for 1,057 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior, while completing 137-of-249 passes for 2,159 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Kelly is ranked by ESPN as the 5th best quarterback in the nation and 80th overall regardless of position. Kelly was also the first person to win the NFL-sponsored “Punt, Pass and Kick” competition in four age groups.

2012   F O O T B A L L  C O M M I T S
NamePOSHT, WTHometown (School)
Travis BlanksDB6-1 180Tallahassee, FL (North Florida Christian HS)
Patrick DeStefanoOL 6-4 275Roebuck, SC (Dorman HS)
Ronnie GeohaghanS 6-0 185Fairfax, SC (Allendale Fairfax HS)
Jay Guillermo OL 6-3 285Maryville, TN (Maryville HS)
Germone Hopper ATH 6-0 175Charlotte, NC (Phillip Berry Academy)
Chad Kelly QB 6-2 205Buffalo, NY (St Joseph's Collegiate Inst)
Shaquille LawsonDL 6-4 240Central, SC (Daniel HS)
Bradley PinionK6-6 220Concord, NC (Northwest Cabarrus HS)
Cordrea TankersleyATH6-2 195Aiken, SC (Silver Bluff HS)

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