From quarterback to running back to wide receiver to safety, Cam'Ron Kelly has played just about everything in his time at Oscar Smith HS — but it was the allure of one position, in particular, that convinced him to commit to Virginia Tech.
Scott Johnson, Kelly's head coach at the Chesapeake school, says his star 2019er "had a lot of good choices" as he sought to make his decision. Schools like Clemson and Penn State were widely viewed as some of the top contenders to earn Kelly's services, though he spurned both in favor of the Hokies in a surprise reveal at his commitment on June 7.
Johnson believes plenty of factors contributed to Kelly choosing Blacksburg, noting that the school is "close to home and in the state," a pair of factors he felt were important. But Johnson also feels that the chance to play cornerback, particularly at a program with a sudden dearth of options on the depth chart, truly stood out to Kelly.
"He's comfortable with playing corner," Johnson told The Key Play. "He hasn't played a lot of safety, though it's not like he couldn't...I think it's just the comfort level. Obviously, Coach Foster is as good as they come."
Indeed, Johnson stressed that Kelly is a "really tremendous athlete" and could've certainly thrived at safety, the position many recruiters envisioned the 6'1", 190-pound athlete fitting at someday. After all, he points out that Kelly has often played both ways at Oscar Smith, including a whole manner of positions on offense.
But Johnson believes Foster's pedigree of grooming NFL-ready cornerbacks was just too tempting for Kelly to ignore.
"(Foster) gives the program its stability," Johnson said. "He's going to a place where Coach Foster's been there, he's given stability to the defense there. So you've got to feel good about the stability he provides, but also the success that he's had getting players to the next level as well. They're always one of the top defenses in the country and that's an exciting thing for Cam to be part of."
Of course, it doesn't hurt either that another prominent Oscar Smith defender just signed on with Foster as well: 2018 LB Keshon Artis.
"I know Keshon worked on him a little bit," Johnson said. "I don't know how much influence he had on the final decision, but I know he talked to him a lot. Keshon's a tremendous athlete and Tech's getting two really good defensive players. They've been a huge part of the success we've had defensively, as well as offensively, here at Oscar Smith."
Johnson believes Artis himself is good enough to "battle for that inside linebacker spot" right away, considering his background as a "three-year starter and two-year captain," and Foster will surely give him a hard look this fall.
Kelly, meanwhile, should have his own chance to battle for early playing time. Tech's pecking order at cornerback should be a bit more firmly established when Kelly arrives on campus than it is right now, but Johnson does not doubt that the consensus 4-star recruit will push to get on the field quickly.
"He has that special 'it' factor that he seems to be around the ball," Johnson said. "He played some with us and practiced with us as a freshman and you could just see he had a special knack, a special athletic ability that made him a little special, a little unique. You knew early on he was going to be a pretty good player."
But Johnson is in no hurry to give up his star player just yet. He has a full season left with Kelly, and he fully plans on readying him for college ball as best he can.
"We want to get him a little stronger," Johnson said. "He played some baseball in the spring and lost a little weight, so we want to get him a little heavier and back into football playing weight if we can."