Monday, February 17, 2014

Rising star watch: Caleb Kelly

Photo by Lorenzo J. Reyna/The Reedley Exponent
Time to start looking at who's coming up in 2016. We'll start in Fresno County for one of the most versatile sophomores in the Central Section last year: Caleb Kelly of Clovis West.

Though the Golden Eagles have fallen on hard times (three straight sub .500 seasons after winning 2010 section title), Kelly's play and overall intangibles could offer some future hope for this once proud program. Here's a closer look:

WHAT TO LIKE: Kelly (in green shirt of photo) looks like a grown man with his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame. On defense, he's got excellent instincts and angle pursuits to the football. He has long arms and uses them to either wrap up and roll a ball carrier, or force the fumble. Has pass rushing skills with attacking the gaps at full speed or from chasing down a quarterback. Has the size to be used as an outside linebacker/defensive end. On offense, he's reliable in the red zone thanks to his stature. Can make the tough grabs at tight end against as many as three defenders. A nasty run blocker that drives defenders five yards back or to the ground. Also has played running back and is tough to bring down between the trenches.

WHAT TO BUILD ON: Still will need added bulk down the road. Defensively, he tends to stop his feet after contact is made. Needs to be consistent about keeping his feet moving to finish the tackle. On offense, it's continuing to polish his speed and routes.

OVERALL: Kelly's future is bright after a strong varsity debut last year. He's also spent time with former Sacramento State wide receiver Elon Paige and has teamed with renown high school defensive back coach Tony Perry in Fresno. He could be a headliner for the Central Section 2016 class thanks to his size and versatility.

More on Kelly:

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