In the weeks leading up to the draft, there were headlines about Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly saying that he thought quarterback DeShone Kizer should have stayed in college rather than going into the NFL because he needed to grow as a player and person.
Given the need of every player leaving college to do those things, stopping at the headlines made it seem like Kelly was being overly critical of Kizer simply because he’d need to find a new quarterback in South Bend but the full context of Kelly’s thoughts was far less harsh. Kelly said Kizer had the best skills of any quarterback heading to the NFL and that they needed to be honed by his coaches at the next level.
Kizer believes he’s made growth this summer and the Browns obviously like what they’ve seen because he’s going to be starting for them on Sunday. On a conference call Sunday, Kelly revisited the past comments in light of that decision.
“What I said was that he was the best quarterback in the draft and he has the biggest upside but would benefit from staying at Notre Dame,” Kelly said, via ESPN.com. “Once that decision was made, we were all for DeShone seeking out what his dream was, to play in the NFL. And that’s what he’s done. In a very short period of time he has gotten himself into a great position to be the starting quarterback. We’re thrilled for DeShone. We’re big fans. And hopefully he’s surrounded with guys that can get Cleveland back into championship caliber.”
Kizer will certainly hit rough spots in Cleveland in the coming weeks and Kelly said he believes the quarterback has “what it takes to persevere and fight through adversity.” If that’s the case, it’s hard to argue that Kizer made anything other than the right call when he jumped to the professional ranks this year.