According to CBSSports.com, Brian Kelly really put his foot in his mouth on signing day when it came to commenting on Deontay Greenberry:
Coach Brian Kelly wanted the focus to be on the 16 players who signed, rather than the one (5-star WR Deontay Greenberry) who didn’t. “I used to have a saying about players like that and that was I’d rather play against him for four games than with him for four years,” he told UND.com.
If you follow the link, you will see that this isn’t an excerpt from an article, the above is the whole post. While I understand that the author of this “Rapid Report”, Mark Bradford, was simply attempting to provide the equivalent of an audio soundbite, this comment was not only taken horribly out of context, but the quote itself wasn’t Kelly’s complete sentence; in fact, the so called quote didn’t even come out of Kelly’s mouth as it was written by Mr.Bradford.
I had been inquiring on where I could find this interview as it was missing on UND.com’s overview on there excellent signing day coverage. Thankfully, it was just a simple oversight, so now I have the interview in it’s entirety to back my comments up.
To provide this context, here is the complete context of this so-called “shot” that occurs around the 1:40 mark:
Jack Nolan: And you’ve already discovered this and I’ve learned over thirty years: if you come here you have to want to be here. If you don’t want to be all-in here, it’s not going to work. So better off to find out on February 1st than November 15th.
Brian Kelly: Yeah because it’s just going to take too much time and effort. You know, kid comes here and it’s really not the right fit. You know, those aren’t going to be good times with a player. You know, I used to have a saying when we were recruiting regionally, you know, on a kid and we were making a decision: I’d rather play against him four times than have to have him with us four years if he’s not the right kind of fit. So, again, let’s think about the sixteen guys that understood Notre Dame and what we’re about and let’s talk about them as it relates to this class.
Kelly was responding to a question and gave a generic anecdote based on his previous recruiting experience, not taking a shot at Greenberry. In fact, throughout the beginning of that interview, Kelly made it clear he had no issue with Greenberry. When asked directly about him, Kelly had this to say immediately before the quoted text above:
Kelly: And talking about those sixteen, it’s important that we don’t lose focus on their day and the exciting day that they had. The one that did not, obviously, when you talk about Notre Dame, those weren’t the right things for him. And that’s fine, we have no problem with it. We want the right kind of guys. And, you know, Notre Dame, has great and unique distinctions and those have to be seen as being important in your life. And so the sixteen guys that chose us saw how important those things are in their life at Notre Dame and that’s why it’s an exciting day for us.
Kelly again repeated his mantra of wanting the RKGs at Notre Dame, completely consistent with his comments on recruiting since he’s been here. He made it clear that he harbored no ill-will at all towards Greenberry.
Now, we can be free to debate on whether or not Kelly needs to be more aware of the microscope he is under as head coach of Notre Dame. Everyone is always hungry from a soundbite from our coach and it isn’t just Notre Dame fans that are ready to consume it–this partial quote went viral just minutes after it was posted.
Attempting to paint a picture of an angry Kelly taking a shot at a recruit is hardly genuine and CBSSports.com took his words completely out of context. I’m sure they have no problem with it though, as such sensationalist fiction will surely rack up far more hits than this post containing the truth will.