JuCo Signing Day: Scouting Trevor Kelly

Sonny Dykes talks about his pair of College of San Mateo signees, as Bulldogs defensive coordinator Tim Tulloch gives us an in-depth breakdown of what makes Trevor Kelly a "monster in the middle."

BearTerritory recently caught up with College of San Mateo defensive coordinator Tim Tulloch to break down the two players who starred for him on defense this past season who, on Wednesday, became part of a five-man early-enrollee signing class for California: Sam Atoe and Trevor Kelly.

"Those guys are great kids, man. Great young men," Tulloch says. "Cal's getting two great ones."

While we've already detailed Tulloch's thoughts on Atoe, but Wednesday was the first time Dykes spoke on his new signees, including the former Santa Rosa (Calif.) Maria Carrillo tailback Atoe.

"For us, it was just as important to recruit personalities, and I love Trevor's passion for the game, love his toughness, and Sam Atoe is the same thing," Dykes said. "I felt like, watching the film, this recruiting cycle – specifically, junior college players – I felt like he was as good as anybody, just the way he played the game, the passion he plays with, his versatility. He's a runner. He's a hitter. When we met the kid, I thought he was a perfect fit. He's very mature. He's very focused. He has a passion for football. He's one of those guys that grew up in the Bay Area, and playing at Cal means a lot to him and Trevor, both. Those kinds of kids are the kinds of kids you can build a program around. We were really excited to get those guys. Trevor Kelly's just a load inside. He's a man. I think that's where it all starts, up front."

While Atoe took home the Bulldogs' Most Inspirational Player award (as voted by the team) on Monday, Kelly took home the coveted Bulldog Award.

"Guys that epitomize what it means to be a Bulldog -- work ethic, the way they train, the way they approach practice – a mentality that exudes what our program is all about. That's what Trevor got," says Tulloch.

Tulloch describes Kelly as a "monster in the middle," which is exactly what the Bears want him to be when he takes the field this fall with two years to play two.

"He's a monster in the trenches, he's extremely powerful and when he wants to go, he just tosses guys," Tulloch says. "He's a disruptive dude, which is exactly what you want inside."

CSM actually recruited Kelly out of high school, before he wound up accepting a scholarship to play at Sacramento State – who the Bears will face next season.

"We recruited Trevor out of high school," Tulloch says. "We always kind of kept in contact, and after his freshman season, he just felt like it wasn't the place he wanted to be, so he came home and it worked out great for him."

So, what changed from the young defensive tackle who had just a single Football Championship Subdivision offer and nothing else, and the defensive tackle who had Florida, Illinois and others coming after him?

"He had the chance to mature and to grow," Tulloch says. "Sac State did a great job with him, within their strength program, and the same with our strength coach, coach [Jesse] Lindenstein. Two extra years in a strength program made a difference. Sometimes, guys just get missed. He's a young man that has so much upside. I saw a ton of potential in him coming out of high school, I knew he'd be a great college football player. It's just getting into the right situation and helping him grow.

"He played 10, 11 games at Sac State, he played 11 games with us, had two extra years in the strength program, so he's a guy who was a great player coming out of high school, and has transitioned to a great college football player. That's part of what they're excited about."

Kelly is bull-strong, and that's the basis of his approach in the middle, though he does have a surprisingly diverse array of moves to get by opposing offensive linemen.

"He uses power a lot. He has a really good change-of-direction move, and he does a great push-pull and strike-and-shed," Tulloch says. "He has three or four kind of key moves, but they're all really powerful, because he's so dang strong."

Kelly is versatile enough to play both the straight-up nose, and just about anywhere else along the interior.

"He could play both," Tulloch says. "At Sac State, he played more nose. For us, he played three-technique, he played nose, he played some bang five technique, he did a lot of different things for us."

And now, with the graduation of Deandre Coleman – who's brother also played for Tulloch at San Mateo – and the uncertain health status of Mustafa Jalil, that's exactly what he'll do for the Bears.

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