Chad Kelly's Clemson football career has come to a close. Kelly, the fiery 2012 enrollee, capped off a tough weekend by getting dismissed from the Clemson football program by Dabo Swinney. Yesterday we discussed Kelly's poor Spring Game outing and his ridiculous insubordinate sideline outburst following a coaching decision to punt on 4th and 3 around mid-field. Chad Morris and Jeff Scott recommended Kelly be benched for the balance of the game and Swinney concurred, causing Kelly to show out even more on the sidelines.
I assumed this issue was just another emotional outburst and that Swinney / Kelly would agree on a suitable punishment and that would be the end of the matter. Apparently there was a meeting between the coaching staff and Kelly this afternoon. One can assume that meeting did not go well. After which, a statement was released saying that Chad was no longer a part of the Clemson football team. Various rumors spread that Kelly was escorted away from the West Zone facility but nothing confirmative has come out of Tigertown as of this writing. We also heard rumors of a run in Saturday evening but, to this point, there have been no charges filed against Kelly and the Clemson Police Chief stated he knows of no law-breaking Kelly did. I don't want to maliciously turn this young man into a criminal so I definitely won't judge the last rumor unless definitive information comes out of Clemson on the matter.
Kelly came to Clemson as a loud player who immediately turned heads by calling out Cole Stoudt on Twitter. Swag has been seen on the internet starring in rap videos. He also has had his fair share of outbursts on the field. Kelly was highly irate during last season's game against The Citadel. Apparently the young man though he was going to see significant playing time and that did not materialize. I've heard discussions about outbursts he's had this spring during drills and wondered how he would hold up emotionally if he were the man and if he faced adversity.
This leaves the Tigers in a tough position. Deshaun Watson will now likely avoid the redshirt. This is troubling as we think all freshmen (particularly quarterbacks) benefit from the experience gained through a redshirt year. We now get to burn his redshirt and only have two quarterbacks who are ready for big time college football. We also lose a talented dual threat quarterback. Kelly recuperated well from his knee injury and was poised to carry the quarterback competition through Fall camp. Here, we lose an athlete who has plenty of physical skill though appears to lack maturity. It is tough to grasp the magnitude of this loss but I know Morris wanted serious competition here heading into the year.
However, if Kelly were going to completely lose it, now is much better than on the road in Athens or Tallahassee. Further, I wonder how much the coaching staff itself applied pressure to Kelly to see how he would react. Certainly no one expected or wanted this result but a blow up in the Spring is much better than one in the Fall.
There will be a tremendous amount of speculation on this item as more information emerges. We'll certainly discuss the Kelly situation along with where this turn of events leaves this team. I have a feeling this discussion will continue for quite some time as we now have more questions on the offensive side of the football. You also hope that Kelly will use this as a learning experience and it will ultimately teach him valuable lessons that can be applied in other aspects of life.