BY AARON BRENNER
CLEMSON – Football coaches want to see players rebound from adversity with class and determination.
For reasons a little murky at this time, Chad Kelly didn’t take that route, and therefore Clemson’s quarterback derby has cleared up dramatically within the past 48 hours.
Kelly was dismissed from the Tigers’ football program Monday by head coach Dabo Swinney for “conduct detrimental to our program” before the sophomore could compete with senior Cole Stoudt and freshman Deshaun Watson for the starting quarterback job in 2014.
“He has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program,” Swinney said. “I hope he will mature and grow from this and become the man and player I know he can be. I wish him nothing but the best in the future academically and athletically.”
It’s no secret Kelly wears his heart on his sleeve; unfortunately for him and his coaches, that boiled over Saturday at Clemson’s spring game when he was benched for the second half after sniping with coaches based on first-half playing decisions.
Kelly did not speak with reporters after the scrimmage, despite his status in the quarterback derby.
According to multiple reports, Kelly was involved in a Saturday evening altercation outside Memorial Stadium, and police were reportedly involved Monday when Kelly met with coaches.
A Clemson University police spokesperson said no incident report had been filed within the past 48 hours on Kelly. A Pickens County online public records search indicated the same information.
Regardless, Swinney decided to move forward without Kelly.
“The biggest thing is he got frustrated,” Swinney said Saturday after Kelly’s poor performance in the public scrimmage, marred on the field by two interceptions.
“You’ve got to understand, he’s still a young player. A big part of this position is maturity and leadership. Those are two things he’s got to continue to work on.”
A four-star recruit out of upstate New York, Kelly only logged 55 snaps his redshirt freshman year in 2013, returning quickly from a torn ACL in Clemson’s spring game April 13 of that year.
He completed 10 of 17 passes for 58 yards, while rushing 16 times for 117 yards and a touchdown. Kelly scrambled for three gains of 20 or more yards; he actually was Clemson’s only player besides lead tailback Roderick McDowell to have multiple 20-yard rushes.