Chad Kelly, the nephew of former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, has already become one of Doug Marrone’s most high-profile targets in this years recruiting class. The Fizz spoke with Kelly’s coach at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute earlier this week about Kelly’s skills as a quarterback and his priorities in choosing a school.
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The 6’3, 205 lbs. quarterback out of Buffalo has also caught the eye of national powers such as Alabama and Florida State. This puts the ‘Cuse in quite an intense recruiting battle, and coach Dennis Gilbert says there are three major things that will determine the winner:
“First of all, what kind of education is he going to get. Also, a family atmosphere. He comes from a very close family and is going to be looking for that type of relationship within a program. And he wants to play. Yes, he has aspirations after college, but he’s a really competitive kid and it’s most important that he’ll have a chance to step in and compete right away.”
This list of priorities should make the Orange feel good about its chances of landing the quarterback. Syracuse compares favorably academically to most BCS football schools. The Dougie is a Syracuse guy, and many have described his program as a family atmosphere. Plus, staying in upstate New York would afford Kelly a chance to stay closer to his actual family. And with SU’s unsettled future at quarterback he has a chance to compete for immediate playing time, or at least a better chance than you would expect a more powerful BCS program could offer.
As for the type of player these teams are chasing, Coach Gilbert says he’s a true dual-threat.
“I’d have to say it’s a pretty even mix. He can drop back in the pocket, step up and throw it 70 yards, but he can also make plays with his legs, and can probably throw it just as well on the run.”
But it is neither his arm nor his legs that really sets him apart.
“His greatest strength as a quarterback is his competitiveness. Obviously, the skill set has to be good, and it is, but his competitiveness to me is the most impressive. He works as hard on Monday in practice as he does in the game, and really raises the level of his teammates, not just on game day, but all week long.”
And as for that famous uncle of his:
“I think it’s a double-edged sword. It can help, but at the same time it puts you in the spotlight at a pretty young age, which can be tough to deal with. But then again, who wouldn’t want to have a hall of fame uncle who can help you develop as a quarterback?”
It seems like the Orange can offer what Kelly is looking for, and he would certainly be Marrone’s biggest get in three-plus years, but there’s still a long way to go in the recruiting process. Kelly hopes to narrow down his list of schools to a top five or seven by the end of the school year.
Posted: Steve Neikam