Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scouting Report: John Kelly

 John Kelly
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 194 lbs.
High school: Oak Park (MI) Oak Park
Position: Running back
Class: 2015

Notes: Holds offers from Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Iowa, Maryland, Miami-OH, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Tennessee, Western Michigan . . . Claims a 4.38 forty . . . 37" vertical . . . ESPN 3-star, 78 grade, #55 running back . . . Rivals 3-star, #28 athlete . . . 247 Sports 3-star, 88 grade, #38 athlete

Strengths: Solidly built . . . Strong lower body and leg churn . . . Runs with good body lean through line of scrimmage . . . Runs like a sprinter, getting more upright in open field . . . Good acceleration in and out of cuts . . . Excellent vision and patience as a runner . . . Very good top-end speed . . . Runs through contact . . . Looks for cutbacks instead of going out of bounds . . . Aggressive blocker both in run and pass game . . . Also an aggressive tackler on defense

Weaknesses: Does not have a great deal of highlights on defense . . . Questionable ball skills . . . Seems to make more plays on offense than defense . . . Gives and takes a pounding, so durability may become an issue

Projection: Running back. I've had my eye on Kelly for a couple years now, and while he's being recruited by some schools to play defense, I just don't see the playmaking on that side of the ball. He has been dynamic on offense, and the skills I've seen displayed translate to running back more than any other position, in my opinion. Other than great size, he has a good dose of everything you want in a running back: speed, vision, strength, toughness, a willingness to block, etc.

Reminds me of: T.J. Yeldon from Alabama. Yeldon is obviously significantly larger, but the way Kelly runs - low through the line, good vision, cutting back to avoid going out of bounds, upright in the open field, etc. - reminds me of the Crimson Tide running back.

Likelihood of committing to Michigan: Tennessee supposedly leads, but Michigan is a strong possibility, too. Right now Michigan State leads the 247 Sports Crystal Ball with 39% of the votes, followed by 32% for the Wolverines. Right now Kelly has visits set for Tennessee, Minnesota, and Michigan. Things are pretty up in the air.


  1. The vid is Roquan Smith's not John Kelly. I watched it again anyway. i love that kid.

    1. Are you sure? I just watched it, and it shows up as John Kelly's on my end.

    2. Yeah I'm positive, but it showed up John kelly when I came back. I thought you flipped it.

  2. I'd take Kelly at RB. Shifty and vision along with strong and fast is a real nice combination.

  3. Meh. Maybe my expectations weren't reasonable but I was hoping that Harbaugh would be able to immediately flip a few blue chippers. The 2015 recruits haven't reacted with the enthusiasm that I thought they might. Maybe we should just bank a few scholarships for what will probably be an epic monster class in 2016.

    1. IMO you're displaying inappropriate impatience. Let's check the score again on February 3, eh?

  4. I encourage you to check out the Cass Tech vs. Oak Park highlight on Youtube from this past season. I know it's only a one game sample, but it gives a nice head to head comparison of Weber and Kelly. In my opinion, Kelly is the better back in that game. I'm not saying let's throw in the towel on Weber, rather, Kelly is no slouch himself. To me, he's the type of underrated 3 star that goes to State and destroys us for years. I'd take him in a heartbeat.

  5. Chris Warren.Running Back; Rockwall, TX (Rockwall); Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 240 | 40: 4.62

    I wish Harbaugh would look at this kid. It's a little late and this dude never received an offer from the old staff. However, I'd take him any day over any of the backs UM is recruiting. Watched him play and he is legit.

  6. I hope he picks Tenn. Another RB doesn't seem like the best use of a scholarship right now, and if we pass on them in this class, I think it will help get an elite back in '16.

    Nothing against Kelly, who seems like a fine prospect, but the reality is that he would come here instead of another player. Maybe they see him as a special-teams contributor a la Norfleet or Hollowell, but I'd rather go for someone who has a better chance of developing into a starter. At RB Kelly would be buried for at least the next two years, maybe longer.

    I think if he was from Toledo instead of Oak Park we wouldn't be discussing him, but there tends to be an irrational/emotional desire for fans to hold on to in-state recruits.

    There's nothing wrong with taking a 3-star kid, but a lot of coaches have looked at this guy and passed. Michigan would be his most prestigious offer by far.

    1. "Michigan would be his most prestigious offer by far."

      I don't really agree with this statement. Tennessee has a good history, and Michigan State is in a better spot with their program right now. While I agree that Michigan has a better history overall than either school, the "by far" modification seems out of touch.

    2. Regardless of MSU's current program status, they have never recruited to Michigan's level. Yes, they will win some in-state battles. Yes, they have increased in profile and prestige relative to a decade ago. And yet -- they still aren't getting the kind of prospects Michigan is, as reflected by rankings and head-to-head results. I stand by my point that Michigan is far more prestigious of an offer.

      On Tennessee, I agree. They are right up there with MIchigan in prestige and have the advantage of being in the best conference (bowl results notwithstanding.)

      So Kelly has one other believer...who happens to be from Michigan.

      Modified statement:

      Michigan would be his most prestigious offer by a significant margin (besides Tenn).

    3. "But I will not wear that gaudy orange, I will not. It is not my colour wheel and I'm not gonna wear it."