Darius Kelly may be one of the most underrated incoming players for Syracuse this season. His combination of speed and aggressiveness make him a natural fit at free safety. Combine that with his explosiveness in the return game and the Orange could have a playmaker on their hands.
He joined the program in the summer and has been working on becoming acclimated to the Syracuse way ever since.
"It's been a good summer," Kelly explained. "I've been working hard for the past two months that I've been here. I've been learning from the older guys, the vets. They've been teaching me the way. How to take care of your body, how to train right. How to just go about your daily activities here at Syracuse."
Kelly had some setbacks in high school with injuries and hardships. But he persevered in order to realize his dream of playing major college football.
"It's definitely a dream come true," Kelly admitted. "I've worked so hard to get to this point. It's finally here and right there at my fingertips. I've just got to grab a hold of it and take advantage of the opportunity I have."
"I know my abilities. It's up to me to show the coaches what I can do. If the coaches feel that I'm good enough to step onto the field right away, then that's their choice. But I know what I can do and I know what I'm capable of."
The JUCO transfer says his interaction with the staff has been what he expected. They have been encouraging so far, but he knows he still has work ahead of him.
"It's been positive feedback," Kelly said. "I had a good summer with my testing. They said I did real well with that. It's been real positive so far. Just learn the playbook, do your best, and they'll take it from there. You just have to go out there and play your best."
With a new staff and a new playbook, some could struggle picking it up in a timely manner. That is not the case for Kelly, however, who says it is already second nature.
"I'm very comfortable with the playbook," Kelly claimed. "It's set for us to succeed. It's not real difficult, but there's some stuff in there that can take advantage of our abilities."
After seeing the talent on this Syracuse squad, Kelly has lofty goals for the Orange in 2013. He also wants Syracuse fans to know what to expect when he is on the field.
"I expects us to definitely compete," Kelly offered. "I expect us to compete with every team in our conference. Compete real hard with Penn State, and hopefully get a lot of W's. If I step on that field, you're going to see someone that's going to go hard all four quarters. Somebody that's going to give it their all every single play."