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Is Clemson the Front-Runner for Highly-Touted Buffalo QB Chad Kelly?

There is a team in orange that may lead in the Chad Kelly sweepstakes and unfortunately, it appears to be Clemson. Good news, however, is that Kelly will visit the SU campus this weekend and his coach tells The Fizz the race is still open.

Right now, many early signs point towards Death Valley in South Carolina. For me, a kid who grew up 45 minutes from the Tigers campus, this couldn’t be any more frustrating. For Syracuse fans it’s also discouraging.

According to an article in the Post and Courrier (Charleston, SC), if Kelly had to pick a favorite going into June, it’d be Clemson (as correctly predicted in this week’s FizzCast).

Kelly said he talks with Alabama a good bit and has also had recent conversations with Florida State. The Tigers and ‘Noles have had time at the top with Kelly, and he said it’s been hard to stick with a favorite.

“I’m up and down every day. I’ll have a number one after the visits.” But going into June, Kelly is a lean to the Tigers. “My visit there (earlier in the spring) speaks for itself. It was amazing and I felt like I was a home and wanted.”

Kelly plans to make his decision by the first part of July.

Here’s what we know: Kelly has narrowed his list down to 7 schools – Clemson, Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State, Purdue, Buffalo, and Syracuse. Kelly has gone out of his way to say all are in play. Despite this, it’s impossible to find a single article where Kelly mentions Syracuse without being asked about it. Although, in an article for ESPN.com last week, Kelly spoke highly of the program which he visited a few seasons ago.

I visited there in my sophomore year and they were interested. Coach [Nathaniel] Hackett, their offensive coordinator, is supposedly the next big-time coach, according to my uncle. It’s close to home, and I feel like they are heading to the top of the Big East. Lots of great quarterbacks, like Donovan McNabb, came from the program.”

Orange fans would feel infinitely better about landing one of the biggest in-state recruits of the 2012 class if he talked of SU like he did about hometown Buffalo.

“(Buffalo has) six quarterbacks right now, but I think I can compete with them right away. It’s home, it’s where my family is. If I stay here I would still be coached by my uncle. My little brother is 10, and I don’t know if I want to leave him. Family is everything to me, and Buffalo would give me the opportunity to be around my family all the time. Coach [Jeff] Quinn is keeping the program on the right track and big things are coming.”

Lots of quarterbacks but a chance to compete, stay close to home, and family is important? Hey, that sounds A LOT like SU!

Protecting home court/field is critically important in sports and the same is true in recruiting. Even if Marrone and crew are only semi-interested (which would be hard to believe – Kelly’s stats are off the charts. If there were flaws SU likely wouldn’t be recruiting him at all), they should still go after him hard. Because of his Hall of Fame uncle Jimmy, Kelly is one of the most notable names in recruiting. If he comes to SU, it could open the door for all the major New York recruits to stay in-state and establish Syracuse as a player for top-tier talent across the Northeast.

The Fizz constantly reminds everyone this is a long process, but as anticipation continues to grow coming off the Pinstripe Bowl win, expectations build as well. So quotes like this cause concern for SU faithful:

“Clemson has made a very strong push. Kelly talked with quarterbacks coach Chad Morris last week. ‘We talked about everything. We talked about academics, his offense and who has been drafted out of what kind of offense. I got seven letters from him today.'”

Syracuse is definitely interested in one of the best quarterback prospects in the country, but it looks like Kelly could be leaning toward wearing a different color orange. Hopefully this weekend, Kelly finds himself drawn to a campus just two-hours down the road with plenty of All-Star game teammates who he would play alongside. In Marrone we trust, and bologna sandwiches for all.

Posted: Craig Hoffman

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