December 21, 2007

Kelley could be the replacement for Amendola

More so than perhaps any school in the country, Texas Tech has a track record of taking receivers who are a tad too small and a step too slow and turning them into productive players. Names like Wes Welker, Trey Haverty, Danny Amendola, and Eric Morris come to mind when talking about the Air Raid and any coach will tell you that while Tech's outside receivers can hurt you, the real danger, as Mike Price would say, lies with Tech's "rug rats," its smallish, tough, and shifty inside receivers.

Well, Tech's at it again. This week, they picked up a commitment from Blinn J.C. standout Blake Kelley, a preferred walk-on candidate who, on paper, looks an awful lot like several of Tech's more successful receivers.

Kelley, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound receiver who graduated from Beaumont Westbrook in 2006, was never really showcased in high school, so he when Blinn offered him a scholarship, he jumped at the offer to keep playing football.

"My freshman through junior year of high school we had a running style offense and we had a really good running back, so we didn't throw the ball much," explained Kelley. "We got a new head coach our senior year and he threw the ball. I had something around 30 catches and 800 yards my senior year."

The stocky receiver, who garnered first team all-district honors following his junior and senior seasons, showed enough in his senior season to catch the eye of Blinn, who immediately extended an offer.

"What happened was that I wasn't getting recruited by anyone. Then one day coach told me that Blinn offered me," Kelley chuckled. "He told me afterwards that the coaches at Blinn didn't even know who I was at first, but they were recruiting another defensive back and were watching his film and saw him falling over when trying to cover me. So they stopped going after that other guy, and turned their attention to me."

Kelley wasted no time in making the best of his new opportunity, claiming a starting spot in no time.

"I started right when I got there," said Kelley. "I started both years I was there. We won our national championship my freshman year, then we just got thumped the first round of the playoffs this year."

Though he could have taken any of the countless D-II offers he received this year, Kelley says Texas Tech is where he wanted to be from the beginning.

"My coaches sat me down and talked to me about where I would be interested at playing at college and more specifically where I'd fit in at," said the receiver. "I told them that I wanted to go to Tech and they said that's the best where I'd fit in. My coaches told Tech that they might have the next Wes Welker on their hands. The Tech coaches said they liked me but they didn't have any WR scholarship offers left for this year. But they did guarantee me a spot so I don't have to try out."

So now, Kelley is getting the chance to fulfill his dream, even if it is as a walk-on.

"I'd rather walk on then take a ride at a DI-AA and always wonder what I could have done at this level," he explained. "I only get to do this thing once, so I might as well go take a chance. That's what I was thinking."

Kelley will enroll at Tech in January and will go through spring practice with the Red Raiders.



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