Kelly Has 'Good' Conversation With Wheatley

Oak Park (Mich.) 2015 RB John Kelly discusses his first impressions of U-M RB coach Tyrone Wheatley, his thoughts on Michigan, his official visit schedule and more.

Oak Park (Mich.) senior standout John Kelly had heard of Michigan running back coach Tyrone Wheatley, and before Thursday, he had never met U-M’s latest addition to its coaching staff. But after meeting him for the first time, Kelly says Wheatley made it clear U-M wants him to play running back for the Wolverines.

“I heard about coach Wheatley a lot, but that was the first time actually seeing him,” Kelly said of Wheatley, who starred for U-M at running back in the early 90s. “I really didn’t know that he was that big. Like he a bigger guy then what I thought he was. Everything was all good. He was a pretty cool guy. He was straight forward about everything.

“This is kind of new that Michigan is recruiting me hard as a running back. And he told me he heard about me a while back. And that he liked my style of play and everything. So, yeah, it was a really good conversation between me and coach Wheatley.”

Rated a three-star prospect, Kelly says after his conversation with Wheatley, he admits he could see himself playing for the former Michigan star – now coach.

“I can definitely see myself playing for a guy like coach Wheatley,” Kelly said. “He’s had a pretty good thing coaching the running backs in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills. They got some pretty good backs there. He’s done a pretty good job with them. “Michigan recruiting me to play running back is really good. Because I’m kind of starting to lean towards the offensive side of the ball. But at the same time, I never really had a real preference.”

Michigan’s recruitment of Kelly didn’t stop with Wheatley on Thursday, he also received a phone call with U-M coach Jim Harbaugh later that night.

“Me and coach Harbaugh have been talking to each other almost every week,” Kelly said. “After coach Wheatley’s visit, [Harbaugh] called me later that night. He and my mom had an hour long conversation on phone, too.”

And apparently, Harbaugh has already connected with mom, Kelly says.

“She loves him,” Kelly said. “She wants to get down there and just as soon as possible.”

Right now, Kelly is planning on visiting Michigan – with his mom – on Jan. 30.

As of right now, Kelly says his top-four schools in no particular order are Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Tennessee. He has set official visits set up with all four schools. He took his visit to Tennessee this week. He has a set visit to Minnesota (Jan. 24), and MSU visit is setup midweek before his U-M visit.

And when he goes on his campus visits, he noted he looking to see how the “vibe” is on campus.

“I am really trying to turn up the relationship I have with the coaches,” Kelly said. “I want to get a vibe on how everything is on campus. I have been to Michigan State’s campus and everything. But as far as Michigan, Minnesota and Tennessee, this is my first time going to Tennessee. So I really want to get a great vibe of all the campuses.”

Kelly’s decision will be announced on signing day on Feb.4 in front of school in an assembly.

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