Chad Kelly stood at the podium inside Buffalo’s St. Joes High School yesterday and did what several top recruits have done to the Orange in the past couple years; broke their hearts. In recent days many believed Syracuse was not in Kelly’s top 3, despite his seemingly positive visit to the Dome a few weeks ago. Nonetheless, it still hurts for Orange fans. Another top prospect, from western New York no less, slipping out of SU’s grasp and into the waiting arms of the Tigers.
Kelly had Orange Nation fired up a few weeks ago after his very pro-‘Cuse comments to The Fizz, but he may never have been serious about becoming an Orange. The Fizz spoke with Buffalo News Sports reporter Rodney McKissic, who had a different view than many when asked about Kelly’s interest in Syracuse:
“I think he put them in there as a courtesy in my opinion”
How seriously did Kelly consider the Orange? Could it have been just a courtesy to coach Nathaniel Hackett, who is close with Kelly’s uncle Jim Kelly? McKissic went further about Kelly’s recruiting:
“A few sources told me he was leaning towards going south and going big like SEC or ACC and it’s no surprise that’s where he ended up. They said he made this decision three weeks ago.”
Kelly seemed to reiterate that sentiment at his press conference.
“I just fell in love the first day I got there. Back in April, that was the first trip I took and that was absolutely amazing.”
Should Syracuse even being mentioned as a contender for the #80 prospect on the ESPNU Top 150 be taken as a victory regardless of the result? It seems unfair to expect Doug Marrone and staff to compete for blue-chip prospects when the football facilities at Syracuse don’t compare to those of a Clemson or Alabama. While it’s nice that Marrone is making progress and getting into contention for top prospects, it seems in this case that Kelly had his mind set on the south all along and his comments echoed that sentiment:
“Right when I went to Clemson was the first time I fell in love.”
Even if the Orange were not close in the pursuit of Kelly, being on his short list after nearly nabbing David Perkins sends a positive message for the future. Perhaps the program-changing prospect for the Orange is close on the horizon, but for now, Kelly falls into the category along with Ishaq Williams, Kevin McReynolds, Perkins and others as ones that got away.
Posted: Alex Plavin