“It was actually pretty good. It was real fun and I love the environment,” Kelley said. “I was talking to some of the players that were freshmen and asking them how they think the new staff is. I was talking to some of the old ones and asking how the old staff compared to the new staff. Just wanted to catch up on them.”
Kelley mainly talked with freshman receiver Kevin Thomas, who had some big plans for this season and for the Chad Morris era.
“He said they guaranteed a bowl game this year. He knows that’s the turnaround with the new staff that they’re making them be more accountable,” Kelley said. “They’re holding them to stuff they have to do and they have to earn everything they get. That’s just some of the stuff.”
Kelley has a few of the SMU coaches constantly in contact with him too.
“Me and coach Mathis and coach Craddock and coach Morris, we’re real tight. We keep in touch all the time. I call coach Mathis and coach Craddock just to see what’s going on to touch bases,” the 6-2, 205-pound quarterback said.
It’s no secret that SMU would love to land Kelley, who projects as a safety according to Scout.com, but the staff has other plans for him.
“They tell me all the time I’m one of their top recruits so I just try to be that top recruit and touch bases with them,” Kelley said. “Coach Craddock and Chad Morris always tell me I remind them of Deshaun Watson, the freshman phenom they had at Clemson. Coach Morris watches my highlights and says we already know you can be better than him. They tell me that every time I’m there. That means a lot that they see something in me. Just got to keep grinding.”
The day after SMU offered, Kelley visited SMU and got to see the current and future state of the program’s facilities.
“We saw the facilities and what’s getting built and what’s going to be new. They had already done some of the new stuff so I got to see that,” Kelley said. “I like their facility. It’s real nice. I loved it.”
Offensive coordinator Joe Craddock has been impressing Kelley since the moment they met.
“He treats me like family. The first time I met him, he treated me like he’s been knowing me,” Kelley said. “It’s like I’m one of his sons and all that. He’s real nice.”
Even though it’s 18 months away from National Signing Day for Kelley, he’s got an idea of what he wants in a school.
“First thing, is the education part of it. That’s another factor with SMU. They got a great education program. That will be a big part of it,” Kelley said. “After I look at that, then I can worry about the athlete part of it.”
SMU’s engineering program has seen a major facelift in the last decade or so, but Kelley is looking to learn more about the program.
“I like welding and stuff like that so I’m going to be an engineering major. I haven’t got that tour yet,” Kelley said.
Going into his second season as the starter, Kelley is looking to improve on his overall game and being a more efficient quarterback.
“Just got to get better than you were the previous season. I really want to just focus on my completions and my accuracy. We’re going into the season as a passing team,” Kelley said. “I’ve gotten a little bigger so I can do something now and I’m really prepared now.”
Kelley is still waiting on another offer, but Oklahoma State and TCU are two schools that have hosted Kelley and are watching him closely. The junior wants to get back to SMU for a couple games this season.