Kelly Coming Into His Own

CLEMSON – As receiver Aaron Kelly and quarterback Charlie Whitehurst trotted off the field together following the freshman's 34-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, the elder statesman turned and offered a prediction.

"That's the first of many," Whitehurst said to Kelly, who had just hauled in his first-career touchdown catch for Clemson.

Maybe the most surprising part of the Tigers' trouncing of Temple is that Kelly didn't add to his total.

After all, he did set a school record for freshmen and was one catch away from setting another.

Kelly set a Clemson freshman record with 155 receiving yards, which broke the old mark of 139 set by Roscoe Crosby against Duke in 2001. Kelly also had seven receptions, which is just one away from tying the mark set by Derrick Hamilton.

"I really didn't know (I had the record) until someone came off the field and told me," Kelly said. "It's pretty exciting. They're giving me a lot of opportunities and I'm just trying to make the most of it and I'm glad that they have confidence in me."

Kelly certainly has taken advantage of the situation.

Over his first five games, he had 19 receptions for 165 yards. In his last two games, he has 12 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown.

"I just try to get better and better as each game goes," he said. "I got a lot of opportunities today and I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunities. I'm getting more comfortable with Charlie each week that we are together."

Earlier in Saturday's game, Kelly got behind the safties and Whitehurst hit him for what looked like what was going to be a long touchdown. But Kelly altered his running by trying to prepare for a stiff-arm and he was ultimately caught from behind and tackled.

He knew that was a perfect chance to get his first touchdown.

"I told Charlie that I should have scored for him on that one and that if he gave me another shot I'd score for him," Kelly said.

He lived up to his word as he got his first touchdown. It was just a matter of time.

"It's no shock to me," receivers coach Dabo Swinney said. "I've been singing his praises since last spring, when the light started coming on. He's in a great situation because we had a need there, especially when Kelvin Grant went down. He's got a lot of poise and he's matured beyond his years. If he stays healthy, he's going to have a lot more records." Top Stories