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Chad Kelly ended his recruiting Thursday at a press conference, choosing Clemson over numerous other offers. The nation's No. 8 dual-threat quarterback prospect was projected to Clemson by Tigerillustrated.com Wednesday morning.
"I actually told coach (Dabo) Swinney the news about committing Tuesday night before we went to dinner and he jumped out of his chair," Kelly told Tigerillustrated.com Wednesday afternoon on the condition this story be released after his public announcement Thursday. "Coach Swinney was like 'Oh yea.' And then I told (quarterbacks) coach (Chad) Morris and he was like 'o yea' and was so happy. He said he can't wait until I get there."
Clemson emerged as Kelly's leader earlier this spring following his visit for the annual Orange & White Game.
Florida State briefly took the lead for the Buffalo (NY) St. Joseph's star until late May when Clemson firmly resumed control.
"The first visit was the best visit I had," Kelly said. "In my heart I knew it was the right fit."
Morris personally recruited the three-star quarterback.
"I had the best relationship with him of any coach that recruited me," Kelly said. "He's real down-to-earth. He lets me do my thing and he'll get back to me."
Kelly fell in love with Clemson in his initial visit to Upstate South Carolina. Those feelings were reaffirmed with a two day stop on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Germone Hopper is fast ... as fast can be," Kelly said. "I'm going to be at an event in Oregon in July and hopefully we can be on the same team and build more of a connection like we did at camp. He's down-to-earth as all of the players are here."
The Tigers won out in more ways than one.
"The people said the place speaks for itself and I don't doubt it," Kelly said. "The players they signed last year speaks for itself. They can win an ACC title with talent like that. I can't wait to run down that hill. It's going to give me chills. I'll be doing that in the near future."
The 6-foot-3, 208-pounder chose Clemson over a dozen offers.
"Alabama was second and I'd say Purdue and Syracuse tied for third," Kelly listed.
Is early enrollment in his future?
"I don't think I'll be enrolling in January because I want to play basketball as a senior and I think Clemson's coaches are going to come up and watch me play," he said.
Barring any unforeseen turn of events or unexpected attrition, Clemson's staff is expected to stand pat here, making Kelly their only quarterback acquisition in the 2012 recruiting class.
Kelly is a nephew of former Buffalo Bills QB and NFL Hall of Famer, Jim Kelly.
As a junior, the all-region selection ran 86 times for 1,057 yards and 15 touchdowns. He completed 137-of-249 passes for 2,159 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
"Clemson's getting a kid that won't let anyone ever beat him," Kelly said. "I'm going to work harder than anything else."
Kelly becomes Clemson's first QB acquisition from New York since Nealon Greene inked with the Tigers in 1994.
Clemson's 2012 verbal commits
1. Jay Guillermo (OL 6-3, 287) Maryville, Tenn.
2. Shaq Lawson (DL 6-3, 240) Central - D.W. Daniel
3. Germone Hopper (ATH 6-0, 165) Charlotte (NC) Phillip O'Berry Academy of Technology
4. Patrick Destefano (OL 6-4, 275) Roebuck - Dorman
5. Cordrea Tankersley (DB 6-0, 190) Aiken - Silver Bluff
6. Ronald Geohaghan (DB 6-0, 190) Fairfax - Allendale-Fairfax
7. Travis Blanks (DB 6-1, 195) Tallahassee, Fla. - North Florida Christian
8. Bradley Pinion (P 6-6, 220) Concord (NC) Northwest Cabarrus
9. Chad Kelly (QB 6-3, 208) Buffalo (NY) St. Joseph's
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