Syracuse has been on the trail of star quarterback recruit Chad Kelly for a while now, but even after the Orange made Kelly’s “top 7 list” some fans were skeptical on competing with the likes of Alabama and Florida State. At one point it looked like Clemson might be the favorite, but after Kelly’s visit to SU this weekend, one thing is clear: the Orange is a serious contender in the battle for the Buffalo quarterback and nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.
I had an exclusive interview with Chad during his visit during the Upstate/Downstate Classic and it was obvious that he is VERY high on SU. During a four-minute interview, Kelly used the words “awesome” or “great” ten times in describing Syracuse.
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If Doug Marrone and his coaches eventually land the four-star quarterback, the staff itself will deserve a lot of the credit. To say Kelly was complementary of the SU coaches would be an understatement:
“Coach Marrone, Coach Hackett, I probably have the best relationship with them out of any of the coaches I’ve talked to. Coach Hackett, he’s awesome man – making me laugh all the time and everything. He took great care of us today, coach Marrone did too. It was just great. I’m happy to be here and thankful for everything that’s happened.”
When asked what separates Syracuse from the other schools recruiting him, Kelly again tipped his cap to the coaching staff.
“I’d probably say my relationship with the coaches. they definitely put themselves high on the list for sure, today was a great visit just got to know more and more people and plus the players, not every place I got visit with the players but talking to them sitting with em right now, they’re pretty sweet.”
Kelly comes from a close family in upstate New York. Again, advantage Orange.
“I drove it today [from his home to SU] it was probably about 2 hours, 2 and a half hours I’d say. Buffalo’s still a half hour from my house since I live in Niagra Falls, but that’ll definitely persuade it a good bit. Either one is a nice place, but Syracuse is awesome, it spoke for itself today.”
The only thing that would raise Orange fan’s hopes more than these glowing remarks about their program would be if they could have seen the smile on Kelly’s face as he said them. We are talking ear-to-ear grin. He clearly had a great visit to SU this weekend, and was legitimately excited about the prospect of playing for the Orange. Kelly stopped short of declaring a favorite, but after this visit Syracuse has at least stepped near the front of the line.
Kelly is set to visit Alabama and Clemson next weekend, and says he would like to make one more visit to SU with his family before making a decision. A return visit to The Hill would not be necessary unless he was seriously considering Syracuse. He also said he will probably make his decision by the end of the month.
Doug Marrone may have hooked the big recruit we’ve been talking about this weekend. Now all he’s got to do is reel him in.
Posted: Steve Neikam