Swinney and Kelly's recruiter of note, offensive coordinator Chad Morris gladly accepted the commitment.
Kelly spent the night in Clemson and did not leave until Wednesday night. Prior his trip to Clemson, Kelly stayed overnight at Alabama.
On Thursday afternoon, Kelly committed to Clemson over Alabama, Florida State and several other schools from across the country that had offered.
The No. 29 quarterback in the class of 2012, Kelly spoke to CUTigers.com after his announcement on Thursday afternoon. The following is a transcript of that conversation.
What made you want to commit to Clemson?
Kelly: Everything, to be honest with you. It all stacked up. I prayed to God more and more and I knew this was going to be a perfect spot. That's why I'm going to be a Tiger.
When you arrived to Clemson on Tuesday, were you going there with the thought that you were going to commit?
Kelly: I was 100 percent sure on my way to Clemson. That's why I told coach Swinney on Tuesday.
When did you tell him? When you first got there?
Kelly: We went to the practice fields and then he said, ‘We have to go back to my office, we have to get changed.' We went back to the office and we were waiting for coach Morris and coach Swinney. Coach Swinney walked into his office. He was all done changing. Coach Morris walked in not two minutes later. My uncle said, ‘Hey, we need to speak to you guys. Can we sit down for a second?' This was right before we were going out to eat. My uncle said, ‘I think Chad has something to say.' I said, ‘Coach, I want to be a Clemson Tiger.' [They] were jumping up and down, screaming and yelling—giving each other hugs. I wish I could replay that moment.
How much of a relief was it to go ahead and get that off your chest, and make that commitment?
Kelly: [It] was a great relief. I knew from day one, I really did. I knew from day one that was where I wanted to be. It was the only place I got gear from, buying it, of course. I knew from day one, like I said, that's where I wanted to be.
Was it the moment you stepped on campus? Does it go back that far?
Kelly: Right when I got there, coach Morris met us out in the parking lot. There was not one other coach who met us out in the parking lot. He introduced himself to us and his family. That meant a lot right there.
That was in the parking lot of the West End Zone?
Kelly: He even came out into the parking lot, right by our car. He said, ‘What car are you in?' We told him and he came right out.
Germone Hopper and Chad Kelly could become a potent combination in the next few years.
Kelly: We got started at 3 p.m. I came in, sat down. My principal said some words. I actually broke down crying, thanking my mom, my dad and my brother. They sacrificed a whole lot to put me in this situation. Right after I thanked my teammates, St. Joes, my coaching staff, people who were there. I thanked all of them. That's when I did it. I said, ‘I'm going to take my talents to the Clemson Tigers.'
Did you talk to anyone after that?
Kelly: I talked to G-Hop [Germone Hopper] yesterday and told him I was going to commit. He knew that. I told a few people to keep it a secret. There's a few people that I told and no one really knew, I guess.
Did you get into contact with the Clemson coaches today after the announcement ceremony?
Kelly: A couple of the coaches messaged me on Facebook. I'm celebrating with my family out a restaurant. [Coach Morris] told me a couple of days ago to call at 9 o'clock to talk some more ball on the phone.
Do you have any more plans to get back down to Clemson?
Kelly: We're going to try to get down in July. My mom and my brother wanted to see it one time. We're going to try to get down there, and definitely for a few games.
As a quarterback, will you take on a leadership role with the class?
Kelly: Oh yea. I've talked to a whole bunch of guys already. I met a lot of my teammates yesterday. I can't wait to work with G-Hop. I was already getting the chemistry down with him yesterday. I truly believe with the talent we have around us, with me as the quarterback, I feel we can get a lot more recruits.
How about Zac Brooks, specifically? He was there all week, you probably got to hang out with him a little bit?
Kelly: I talked to him. I didn't want anybody to know I was committing to Clemson, but I kind of played it off. I was like, ‘Man, hey, if you want to go to a family-type atmosphere, this is the school to go to.' We're already talking on Facebook. We'll see what happens. Hopefully, we'll get him. I'm definitely excited to get him to come to Clemson.