With a deep faith and strong humility the star QB Chad Kelly is a better young man than the super star QB he is. Photo courtesy of Kelly.

 

Michigan State 2012 QB Recruit Chad Kelly and his secrets to success

The future is bright for Chad Kelly.

The junior quarterback from St. Joseph Collegiate Institute in Buffalo, NY, is a highly sought-after commodity in football recruiting. One could say that leading an offense is in his blood, as he is the nephew of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly – who also etched his name into football lore while playing in upstate New York.

But Buffalo may only be a starting point for young Chad, who has been chased around by recruiters from programs around the country. Standing at around 6-foot-3, Kelly has courted more and more teams into seeing what he has to offer. And while many high school athletes are still maturing into their roles not only as leaders of their teams but also as being better men, determination and understanding are catalysts of what brought Kelly to the forefront to begin with.

“It took a lot of hard work and a lot of praying,” Kelly said. “Everything fell in place. I had to get good grades. … I’m just blessed, and any kid would love to be in my position and I’m just happy to be in this position right now.”

Kelly is in a dream-like position right now, especially after a stellar junior season in which he threw for 25 touchdowns and 2,159 yards. He also ran for 14 touchdowns and 1,057 yards, showing his ability to make plays out of the pocket and have a dimension to his playing style that has attracted many more suitors in the fast-paced college game.

Learning how to play on the field was secondary to what he had to learn in the classroom, though.

Kelly, a very good student who comes from a home in which his mother is a teacher, said he has applied his learning methods associated with academics to how he has become a better football player. Football is, after all, a game predicated on being able to mentally compute a play being successful and then physically going out and performing the task. It’s part of what has gotten Kelly to this point in his life.

Getting to be a widely-recruited high school athlete is one thing; being acceptant of your gifts and using them wisely is another. Kelly is very modest and self-effacing, something he has learned from his Uncle Jim in terms of being sincere and not letting his ego inflate into something bigger than himself and his teammates.

“I just take it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” the adolescent Kelly said.

And while his success has reached new leaps and bounds recently, he doesn’t seem rushed by making a decision on where he will play college ball. He says he changes his mind every day and would like to eventually make a decision and accept it, so as to join his teammates and attempt to play for a state championship next fall. Being abrupt will not prove to be beneficial to Kelly – at least for right now.

While he is still weighing out his options and waiting for God to lead him down the right path, Kelly has been impressed by various schools on the recruiting map. However, he may have been most overwhelmed by Michigan State University.

“I’ve been to eight, nine schools already and (Michigan State) was right up there at the top, if not the best,” Kelly said. “Their facilities were amazing, that was one thing that really [stuck] out. But also the coaches – coach (Dave) Warner, coach (Brad) Salem, coach (Dan) Roushar — they’re all awesome.

“Same with coach (Mark) Dantonio. That’s what I really liked about it, because not every place was like a family-type atmosphere but (Michigan State) definitely was. I love the school, love the campus, love everything about it.”

Kelly’s admiration for Dantonio stems not just from what Dantonio has built on the field, but probably more so from what the Spartans’ head coach has created in East Lansing the past few years in terms of that feeling of togetherness and respecting one another. Dantonio also doesn’t like to push recruits one way or another, allowing them time to find themselves and make up their own minds on how their futures should be spent.

It’s that kind of patience which has made Dantonio a major figure in the college football coaching world, as he uses his own faith to reach others and understand what they are feeling – particularly the young men he recruits and coaches.

“We sat down and talked to (Dantonio) for probably an hour and a half,” said Kelly, referring to his family’s conversation with Michigan State football’s man in charge. “Maybe we went to one other school that we spoke to the head coach for just as long. Having a relationship with him and meeting him my sophomore year when I went to camp was special too.

“I talk to him on Facebook all the time, I call him and everything. He’s awesome, I love him. We’ll see what happens and maybe he’ll be my future coach.”

Kelly’s knowledge of the program Dantonio has built is quite vast, to say the least. He said he watched current Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins perform well in the spring game, predicting that he will be drafted in the early rounds of next year’s NFL Draft. Reaching the NFL is also a goal for Kelly, so to potentially play at a school where players – notably quarterbacks – get drafted and enjoy careers against the best players in the world, it is an idea which excites him immensely.

With a penchant for being elusive and a habit of sometimes being too meticulous when it comes to in-game situations, Kelly is not letting himself become complacent in any area of his life. His game is good, his faith is strong, and he has a family in which he entrusts and learns from each and every day.

Yes, the future will continue to shine as long as Chad Kelly maintains everything that has gotten him here.  As Kelly ended his interview on Spartan Nation Radio he added, “Go Spartans!”  Those are nice words, especially if he still feels that way on nation letter of intent signing day.