The first elite DE to commit to Clemson's 2016 class, DE Xavier Kelly has signed his Letter of Intent and is now a Clemson Tiger. Kelly, a product of Witchita, Kansas, is a 4-star product found by none other than Brent Venables. Once again Venables has done an excellent job of going into an area Clemson doesn't normally recruit and pull out an absolute stud.
Kelly has an excellent frame at 6'5", but the big question right now is his weight. 247 lists his weight at 240 lbs, but other reports have him at 260. Both are on the light side, but ideally he should be at 270-280 to have the functional strength to play DE at a high level.
Depending on how he does in fall camp, Kelly could see significant snaps this year if he gets his weight up. We currently have 5 returning DEs with any snaps from 2015, but none of them are certain locks to start. If Kelly is ready and willing he will have a chance to be a key part of Clemson's defense in 2016.
Xavier Kelly is a tantalizing prospect. Kelly has as much raw talent as almost any other weakside defensive end in the country. The problem is that Clemson doesn't really have the luxury of waiting for that talent to catchup with his technique. He is tall and long. I see Kelly avoiding a redshirt next year because of depth concerns at the position. I would be happy if Kelly could get in the 250-260 range and play at that weight next year.
He really does have freakish athleticism--he can do a mean windmill dunk. I am very excited by Kelly's potential and ceiling.