It was a frustrating situation to him and for many fans, who wondered why he wasn't being used more.
That, however, shouldn't be much of an issue this year.
And now with Stuckey trying to make an NFL team, the door is wide open for someone to take his place as the leader of the receiving corps. And more times than not, most eyes turn toward Kelly.
And why shouldn't they? He seems the most likely candidate to have a breakout season.
"He's coming out here and he's working hard every day," quarterback Cullen Harper said. "He definitely has the size and the speed to be that go-to receiver. He's got everything it takes. So far, he's been very consistent and has been making plays for us. So, the expectations for him are high and they should be."
Kelly expects it, too. And he should if the Tigers are going to have a receiver make All-ACC First Team for the fourth straight year. Airese Currie did it in 2004, while Stuckey did it each of the last two seasons.
"We had Chansi Stuckey last year and with him leaving, we have a void," the junior said. "We've had a player from wide receiver since I've been here be All-ACC First Team. We need that. We need someone to play big here for us to win and I'm looking forward to doing it and that's what I want to do."
In 13 games last year, Kelly caught a total of 30 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns. But it befuddled the mind as two why with his 6-foot-4 frame he wasn't used more in the redzone with the fade route with him matched up against a much smaller cornerback.
The only time it was used last season came in the finale against Kentucky and it worked like a charm when he caught a touchdown pass. They only other time he was put into that situation came against Florida State in 2005, his freshman year, when he made a spectacular catch for a score.
Harper sees that being an often used play for the offense this season.
"With his size, you can just throw it up to him and that's a mismatch for most defensive backs," he said. "With his ability to go up and do that, it gives us the ability to do things offensively."
All Kelly ever wanted was a chance to prove his worth and abilities.
"I think now it's just about getting more opportunities to try and be that guy and a lot of it goes with confidence," Kelly said. "When you're getting the ball and making plays and doing well, you're confident and you play better and you feel better about yourself."
One of the problems Kelly did have last year was that he had a hard time matching up against strong, physical corners. But he has worked on improving his slender frame to prevent such occurrences from happening again.
"I tried to put on a little more weight just to help with durability, but other than that, I think I really don't have any weaknesses," he said. "I think I have all the ability and given the opportunity, I think I can go out and do it."
Kelly Expecting Increased Production
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