Name: John Kelly Jr
Class of 2015
Kelly is a local kid, coming out of Oak Park High School just north of Detroit. Kelly is a Three-Star Athlete according to 24/7 composite rankings. Kelly is very sought after, holding eleven offers. Five of those offers are B1G schools (Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Maryland and MSU). Other offers include MAC schools as well as Tennessee. Kelly is being pursued hard by Sparty, and up until the hire of Jim Harbaugh by Michigan, many presumed he would eventually end up there. Kelly’s interest in the wolverines has grown greatly since the hire of Harbaugh, with multiple 24/7 crystal ball flips from the Spartans to the Wolverines. A week ago, Kelly’s top three was Michigan, MSU and Minnesota. Kelly is still showing interest in those three schools and plans on taking an official visit to them as well as Tennessee before NSD in February. it seems that Michigan is the clear leader going forward. I will cover Kelly as an offensive weapon, as he is a very versatile athlete with the potential to play more than one position. I’ve seen Kelly play in person his junior season and without even knowing who he was, he stood out to me. Kelly is being recruited by Roy Manning and Fred Jackson from Michigan. While Kelly is being recruited as an Athlete I project him to stay on the offensive side of the ball, and that is why I will only grade him as I see him, and that is as an offensive weapon.
Type of back: Pure Speed
At 5’10, 195 pounds Kelly is built very solid for a speed back. Lets put it this way: If you were to create an offensive play maker on a video game, he would look like Kelly. Solid enough to tote the rock between the tackles, tough enough to take a big hit and small enough to elude defenders. Kelly will not seek contact but is not afraid to lower his shoulder to finish a run.
Kelly has been clocked at 4.38 in the 40, and I believe it. Kelly is exceptionally fast on film and in person. Playing against top tier competition in the Detroit area, Kelly routinely BURNS his opponents. Kelly is fast to the hole and even faster to the end zone. Once he breaks contain or get past the third level he is nearly impossible to catch, even if the defense has a great angle. Kelly has track speed to put it simply.
Kelly’s vision is somewhat enigmatic. In the open field, his vision is superb. Weather its returning kicks or outside runs, Kelly will find a seam and turn on the jets. But as far as between the tackle runs go, Kelly struggles to find the hole, and instead of showing patience for something to develop, Kelly will often rely on his speed by changing direction and bouncing runs to the outside where they were never intended to go. Patience is not as key with speed guys as it is for the power backs, but between the tackles vision is certainly something Kelly will need to work on if he is going to play running back at the next level. Kelly is a very decisive runner and wastes no time or movements on the field.
Pass Protection: C
Very little sample size to work from, Kelly is a relatively physical back but if he was in the game for Oak Park, he is most likely getting the ball. Pass pro is often the most difficult thing for young backs to pick up at the next level, and i predict that will hold true for Kelly. There will be much work to do in order for him to be an every down back.
Kelly is everything you would want in an athlete. His runs look effortless, and his speed is phenomenal. His foot speed is great, both vertically and horizontally. Kelly does not spend much time running east/west, but he wastes no time when he does. Kelly had the footwork to play defensive back against some of the top receivers in the state, and while I believe he is too good of a play maker to keep the ball out of his hands, he absolutely has the athletic ability to develop into a shut down corner at the next level.
Kelly played in all three phases of the game for Oak Park. Starting at DB, tail back as well as returning kicks. His hands are soft to say the least, and his ball protections is well enough to trust him with that many touches per game. Weather Kelly has the hands to make a transition to slot receiver, that remains to be seen.
Kelly is a very underrated recruit in my eyes, I see him as at least a four star prospect. He is a threat to score every time he touches the ball from anywhere on the field. His track like speed makes him an absolute weapon that you can line up at any position on the field and just get the ball in his hands. Although not the same size or build, I would project Kelly in a similar role of what Dennis Norfleet does for Michigan, at the very least. With a little bit of work, Kelly could make the move to receiver at the next level. Even though I project him to play on the offensive side of the ball, His athleticism is well above average which will allow him to play where ever he and his coaches see fit. Kelly is a must get for the Maize and Blue for 2015, and I believe he could play as a freshman on any if not all special teams units, and could potentially see time on either side of the ball, assuming coach Harbaugh will open up all positions to competition. It is surprising to me that Kelly is considered only the ninth best player in the state. Kelly is a Detroit kid, and plays as such with a scrappy, tough, no quit attitude. He would be a great fit in Ann Arbor and I think we could see him putting on a Maize & Blue cap come signing day, when he plans on making his decision.