Aaron Kelly closed spring practice as strong as anyone on the team. The redshirt freshman was named the starter over Kelvin Grant as a reward. If anyone thought Kelly was just named the starter to motivate Grant, boy were you wrong!
Kelly has been praised by head coach Tommy Bowden following every practice. In fact, he compared Kelly on Thursday to one of Clemson’s greatest receivers.
“I don’t believe he has dropped a ball, not one. He had another big catch today. Thank goodness he is getting to the stage where it is a shock if he drops one that is kind of where Rod Gardner was at the end of his career. Aaron is not that type of player yet, but he is getting there from a consistency standpoint,” said Coach Bowden.
Kelly is not only turning the heads of his head coach and position coach, but he has caught the eye of Chansi Stuckey.
“Aaron Kelly by far has been the big surprise on campus. There are some other young guys that have stepped up too, but he has been impressive,” said Stuckey.
Airese Currie was a key weapon in the Tigers’ offense last season, and it appears he has had a lasting effect in developing a weapon of the future.
“I think redshirting helped a lot. It gave me time to develop my body and take in the whole college experience. Learning how to not just get through practice, but work all the way through practice. Seeing someone like Airese Currie work helped a lot, just to know what college football is all about,” said Kelly.
Kelly understands that you are only as good as your last practice playing under Coach Swinney. He also has enough respect for Kelvin Grant to understand his job is on the line everyday.
“Coach Swinney is a great coach. He pretty much demands perfection. You can think you had a good day, but Coach Swinney is going to find something you did wrong. He is not picking on you, it just to make you better to make you work everyday. If you can be perfect for Coach Swinney, you will be a great receiver. I think the competition makes us both better. You can’t have a bad day or you will be on the second team," said Kelly.
Kelly has been the biggest surprise, and perhaps the biggest story of fall practice to date. With a question mark at receiver going into fall camp, Kelly and company are working fastly to put a period, where everyone previously placed a question mark.