"I did end up choosing North Dakota State over Toledo and Northern Iowa," NDSCS safety Darren Kelley Jr. told the BisonReport this afternoon. "There were a lot of reasons that I ended up choosing NDSU, but one of the main reasons was I believe they were a better fit for me overall. I had a great connection with the coaches and players at North Dakota State and I really enjoyed my time there over there past weekend. I also like the idea that I can potentially come in and play right away as they're graduating some guys in the secondary. Another huge reason I decided on NDSU is because I really like the idea of playing for a national championship every year more than playing in a bowl game. I know at Toledo I wasn't likely going to be playing for championships and at NDSU I will be. I'm a competitive person and I want to have a realistic chance to achieve a championship every season."
Kelley spoke with the Bison's head coach to make his commitment official.
"When I first called Coach Klieman, we were just having a normal conversation and he was asking me if I had anymore question and where my head was at, and that's when I told him I wanted to be a Bison," Kelley said to the BisonReport. "He was really happy and excited and all the coaches were. I talked with the defensive coordinator and Coach Klanderman as well and they were pumped to have me on board."
The JUCO safety believes he could come in and play right away next fall.
"I know that the Bison have a solid free safety and their graduating their strong safety, so that's where I think I can come in right away and make an impact," Kelly explained. "The staff wants me to be that guy there as they really love my physicality and think I can be an impact player. I also chose North Dakota State because they're so close to campus that I can come by this spring and sit in on the meetings and watch the practices and learn things before I get there this summer. That learning process is something I wouldn't have had at Northern Iowa or Toledo, so I plan to really learn what I can this spring from Coach Klanderman and the defensive coaches."
Kelley has a message for NDSU fans on the Bison's coaching staff.
"The last thing I'll say here is that I felt out of all the schools recruiting me, that NDSU had the most genuine coaches," Kelly told the BisonReport. "I had a connection with each and everyone of the coaches at NDSU as they really got to know me where as at Toledo, I had a great connection with the corners coach, Cory Robinson, but I didn't really know the safeties coach at all. At North Dakota State, I just felt like they all made an effort to get to know me and that they were genuine about it. Can't wait to sign on Wednesday."