He’s coming off a season-ending injury, and like Darrin Kirkland Jr., he had a tumultuous offseason. But the Tennessee football legacy player, the son of former All-SEC Vol Todd Kelly, has one final chance to make a major impact for the Vols.
Unfortunately for Todd Kelly Jr., he’s doing it as a safety on a team transitioning to a 3-4, which is hardest on the secondary. However, while that may prevent Kelly from being able to gain national recognition, he shouldn’t have issues picking up the scheme himself. And so the guy is still going to be one of the best players on this team.
Kelly is a very smart player, growing up in a football family, and should be able to adjust to the new scheme when the season starts. Combining that with the fact that he is just an overall great player who has had eight interceptions through three seasons, and you have to believe that he’ll be on valuable impact guy on Rocky Top.
Now, Kelly is technically in a position battle with Micah Abernathy right now to get his old spot back. But he’s proven more than enough to earn it, and provided he is back to full health, he should start over Abernathy.
The best thing about Kelly is he is a ball-hawking safety who can also get himself in the right positions to make proper tackles. And he makes great open-field tackles, which is crucial. So yes, the Vols need him, and he’s a crucial part of their team.