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South Carroll's Silas Kelly gaind yardage against North Carroll
South Carroll's Silas Kelly gaind yardage against North Carroll (KEN KOONSSTAFF PHOTO, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

For budding high school football recruits, the summer heading into their senior year can be an important time to secure collegiate offers to play.

South Carroll's Silas Kelly was in such a position.

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Already with pledges from Albany and Eastern Michigan — both Football Championship Subdivision schools — Kelly was hoping to get more attention when he attended a one-day camp at University of Maryland on Thursday.

What he didn't expect, however, was the trip to turn out so well.

His performance at the camp caught Terrapins coach Randy Edsall's attention, Kelly said, and at the end of the day he was offered a full scholarship. Hours later, he became the second South Carroll player from the Class of 2016 to commit to Maryland.

"When I was in Coach Edsall's office and I was talking to him about it, I was just going over in my head what other schools, if I got an offer from them, that I would go to," he said. "I couldn't think of any other option."

Kelly said he talked it over with his father on the ride home, explaining that thought process. He fired off a tweet announcing the offer, accompanied by a picture with Edsall in front of Byrd Stadium. Not long after, he tweeted his commitment as well.

Last fall, Kelly (6-foot-5, 200 pounds) finished fourth in tackles for the Cavaliers with 59. He led the team with four interceptions, and was a Times first-team all-county selection on defense. As a receiver, he was a second-team all-countian and finished with 17 receptions, 259 yards and four touchdowns.

Kelly said all the schools that have recruited him — including Maryland — have planned for him to play on the defensive side of the ball, which he said was fine with him.

Earlier in the spring, tackle Brian Plummer was offered, and accepted, a scholarship to Maryland as well. He said getting the chance to play alongside one of his best friends for another four years almost sounded too good to be true when he first heard the news.

"It was like reliving my commitment day," said Plummer, who stands 6-7 and weighs 300 pounds. "I was just so excited for Silas at that time. It was like an awesome feeling."

Having multiple players from the same team and class play with one another in the college ranks isn't especially out of the ordinary for Carroll County. North Carroll alone sent a pair of graduates to Shenandoah, and three more players to Bridgewater.

What makes Kelly and Plummer's commitments unique is that they come on the Division I level — where, historically, Carroll County hasn't had the most exposure.

South Carroll coach Steve Luette thinks that could be changing, at least in the eyes of those in College Park.

"I hope so, because there have been some good players in Carroll County before," he said. "It's hard to get them some recognition. I think now, with these two guys going to Maryland, I know Maryland is going to be checking the county out and making sure they get the best players."

Following Plummer's commitment, he wanted to put a word in for Kelly with the Terps coaching staff. At the same time, the team's tight ends/recruiting coordinator, John Dunn, had kept an eye on the safety.

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New defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins, who recruited Kelly when he was on the staff at Old Dominion, played a role in the process as well.

Since Kelly's sophomore year, Luette said the player's athleticism and versatility made him valuable as the defensive quarterback. His skills in the secondary solidified the defense as a whole, the coach said.

The intangibles, Luette added, were just as strong.

"I think they're getting a future leader," the coach said. "Silas has been vocal as much as he can for us. He's not an outgoing type [on the field], but he leads by example. He's not afraid to motivate the players when they're having a rough time."

Unlike Plummer, Kelly didn't grow up as a big fan of the Maryland football program, though he did say he followed the team because of its proximity. His sister graduated from Maryland this spring, and his stepbrother will enroll in the fall.

Now that he has committed to the school, he's changed his tune just a bit.

"We all love Maryland here, and it's really close by," he said. "It's a great situation."

Kelly still has one more season with the Cavaliers before he leaves Winfield. He said the team's mantra this year is getting to "Game 14," especially after a lopsided defeat in the Class 2A state semifinals last season to eventual state champion Douglass.

With the recruiting process off his shoulders, Kelly has the opportunity to focus his full attention on that goal.

In the meantime, dreams of winning a Big Ten title can wait.

"We've all held ourselves to a higher standard," Kelly said of the Cavaliers this offseason. "We're not just preparing for the Carroll County teams. We're not just preparing for our region. We're preparing for those teams we'll see in the state semifinals.

"We want to be at that level and contend for a state championship."

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