Brian Kelly Throwing DeShone Kizer Under The Bus Probably Isn’t Good For Recruiting
It's no secret that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is kind of a dick. It's a trait that many top-tier college football coaches share. I've actually repeatedly noted that it's nearly a requirement.
However it's been a very long time since his days of dominating Division II, and Kelly has only had one truly noteworthy season as the head coach of the Fighting Irish. So he doesn't get the same pass that's given to the likes of Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney. The fact that he's still employed by one of the most storied college football programs in the nation is akin to a miracle, so the man should really just be counting his blessings and keeping his mouth shut.
Alas, there is no earthly force more indestructible than the sociopathic ego of a college football coach - which is why Kelly felt it appropriate during his recent Sirius XM NFL radio interview to point out that former Notre Dame quarterback and NFL Draft prospect DeShone Kizer isn't ready for the pros yet.
Kelly elaborated, telling hosts Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn that he felt compelled to give an honest assessment of Kizer to his friends in the league.
“I’ve got a lot of relationships built on trust with GMs and head coaches in the NFL,” Kelly said. "I’m going to be honest with them and honest with DeShone. There’s a lot of growth that has to take place. But I go back to what are the common threads a great player needs to have. He’s got to have traits of excellence. He’s got to be able to have attention to detail and that focus, he’s got to be smart and he’s got to have the ability to grind and a great attitude. He’s got those traits but they’ve got to be continuously worked on."
It's worth noting that Kelly, who coached at Grand Valley State for 16 years before finally being plucked from that obscurity, maybe isn't the guy to tell NFL coaches and personnel what they should be looking for in a pro QB. He's also just listing everything that almost every QB coming out of college needs to work on. There's one or two guys every five years that come into the NFL completely ready to lead a team to a winning season.
He wasn't done.
"If you want to draft him and say come on, turn it over to him, you’re going to have to support him with great leaders around him and great leadership. But if you’re going to give him time and get a mentor for him, you’re going to have a great guy. That’s my honesty when I talk to GMs and head coaches."
IF YOU WANT TO DRAFT HIM?! They do. They do want to draft him. He's projected to go no later than the second round, so can you please shut the hell up and let the kid have his chance? There's a reason that NFL scouts exist, and it's for the express purpose of evaluating players from an unbiased point of view. Kizer may be an unfinished product, but if he's valuable to a league that is in desperate need of quarterback talent then he should absolutely leave college.
Kelly went on to say that he thinks Kizer has "the best skill set of quarterbacks coming out," but made it clear once and for all to anyone listening that the guy definitely shouldn't being playing in the NFL in 2017.
"He still should be in college,"Kelly said. "...the reality is he needs more football. He needs more time to grow in so many areas, not just on the field but off the field."
Essentially what Kelly's admitting is one of two things, neither of which are flattering. The first is that he thinks he's more equipped to develop Kizer's enormous potential, despite the fact that his team just posted their worst record in a decade. The other, more likely alternative is that he'd prefer Kizer bust his ass for free, helping Kelly to keep his $1.6 million-a-year job.
Either way, these statements can't have recruits feeling very warm and fuzzy about going to play for Kelly. Who wants to waste their college years playing for a guy who's going to throw them under the bus as soon as they get a chance to earn some compensation for their work?
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