Spring camp has turned into a story of attrition for the Tar Heel secondary with two veteran cornerbacks leaving the team in a five day span. Thursday afternoon, the Heels received some news that should help to ease some of the concerns, however.
After yesterday afternoon’s news that he would make his decision sometime today, 2019 4✮ ATH Cam’Ron Kelly announced his intent to transfer to Carolina earlier this afternoon. The Chesapeake, VA product signed and enrolled at Auburn back in January, but told Pilot Online in an article back on March 27th, the day he announced his intent to enter the transfer portal, that family health concerns were the reason for the move. The one time Virginia Tech commit will now be around 3 ½ hours away from Chesapeake, the closest proximity of the schools that he was rumored to be considering.
Kelly was rated as the No. 10 athlete in the 2019 class according to 247sports and was a member of the Top247 with his No. 218 overall ranking. As a senior at Tidewater-area powerhouse Oscar L. Smith High School, Kelly accumulated 1,966 total yards and 38 total touchdowns while playing both quarterback and cornerback. Prior to his junior season, Kelly split his time between wide receiver and cornerback in each of his prior two seasons. As a sophomore, Kelly caught 48 passes for 753 yards and five touchdowns, while finishing with 35 total tackles, 13 passes defended and eight interceptions.
His tape shows why he has the ability to be effective no matter where this staff decides to put him. At Auburn, Kelly was scheduled to compete for a role at safety and if the Heels were to take a look at him in the secondary, he has the talent to make an impact early. Kelly is a physical corner, who dominated in most of the man-to-man coverage reps that he was faced with, a bulk of those coming as a senior. He isn’t limited to just being a man-to-man corner, though, as his closing speed and ability to break on the ball makes him a solid fit at safety or as a zone corner. Kelly is a defensive playmaker, who thrived on turning over opposing quarterbacks, something he did rather often, especially during his sophomore season. His strong closing speed also lends well to him being successful as a run-stopping safety if Jay Bateman feels that is the situation that fits him and the team best. If the Heels were to use him on the offensive side of the ball, they’ll add another playmaker, this one who has the frame at 6’1 and 205 lbs. to play on the outside. Kelly’s ability to get to the open spaces is something that Phil Longo would love to have in his system that thrives on receivers finding the open space against opposing defenses. He is a quicker than fast guy, but looks like he has enough speed to take the top off of most defenses if the Heels were to want to put him on the outside. He is not the most crisp route runner, but that’s something that would improve with time at the college level.
With the makeup of the Heels roster, though, one would expect the Heels to use Kelly on the defensive side of the football. While the Heels are lacking some depth at receiver, the moves of Devon Lawrence and Corey Bell Jr. to wide receiver, as well as the influx of three freshmen that will join the team in the fall, should be enough to allow the Heels to use him on defense. The question then will be, do they use him at corner or safety? Corner seems like the more immediate need, especially with the recent attrition, but there is the possibility that injuries to Myles Dorn and Myles Wolfolk could force him into some reps at safety in fall camp.
Kelly’s commitment adds to an already strong class put together late by Mack Brown and his staff for the 2019 class. The commitment moves the Heels into the top 30 classes in the 2019 rankings, up to 28th and also jumps them up to 5th in the ACC rankings, as they jump NC State. The Heels new staff continues to knock it out of the park on the recruiting trail since arriving to campus back in December. The question continues to be, will the momentum continue on the field starting on August 31st.