BUFFALO, N.Y. – Clemson is landing a Kelly at quarterback.
Chad Kelly, nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly and a highly recruited high school prospect, has committed to play for the Tigers. He announced the decision Thursday, a day after visiting with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and his staff in South Carolina.
"This feels great. I never thought it would feel like this," Kelly said after he teared up several times before announcing his decision by pulling on a Tigers cap during a news conference.
Kelly led Buffalo's St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute to a New York State Catholic School title as a junior last season.
And like his uncle, who starred for the Buffalo Bills, Kelly has great size — he's listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. He has also proven to be a dual threat as both a passer and runner. He finished with 2,159 passing yards and 24 touchdowns with eight interceptions. He also had 1,057 rushing yards and 15 more scores.
Add in seven 2-point conversions and Kelly's 248 points last year accounted for more than 60 percent of his team's total (406).
Kelly made a name for himself in becoming the first to win the NFL-sponsored "Punt, Pass and Kick" competition in four age groups.
Clemson declined comment as it is against NCAA rules to do so until Kelly formally signs a letter of intent.
Kelly said he enjoyed "the family atmosphere" at Clemson during his visit in selecting the Tigers over Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State and Purdue. In meeting Swinney and new offensive coordinator Chad Morris, Kelly said the door was left open as to whether he'd have a chance to play as a freshman in 2012. The Tigers are coming off a 6-7 season with Tajh Boyd expected to take over the starting duties after Kyle Parker elected to pursue baseball.
Kelly has already made initial plans to work out with former Clemson star running back, C.J. Spiller, who was the Bills first-round draft pick last year.
Jim Kelly was out of town and unable to attend the news conference. Earlier this month, he had expressed excitement about his nephew's pending decision even while knowing Miami, his alma mater, was out of the running.
Chad Kelly appreciates the responsibilities that come with carrying the Kelly name.
But he was keen on blazing his own trail.
"Yeah, he's my uncle and a lot of people think that, 'Oh, just because of your name, you get that extra thing,' but it really isn't," Kelly said. "I want to be my own person. I want to make a name for myself instead of having the name attached to me."