Cam’ron Kelly is in his second year with the Tar Heels, but with UNC playing young players on defense, he often feels like one of the old hands.
Kelly broke down some of his young teammates’ games.
Freshman pass rusher Kaimon Rucker has been making a statement recently. He has eight tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit on the season.
“Kaimon is very disciplined, very talented, always in the film room,” Kelly said. “In lifts, he’s very focused, dialed in, as well, just taking every opportunity he gets and making the most of it. Definitely, as a young guy, he has a lot of potential and is showcasing it on Saturdays.”
Then there are the freshmen alongside Kelly in the secondary. Corner Tony Grimes has four tackles in six games, while nickelback Ja’Qurious Conley has 14 tackles in five outings.
“Tony came in as a freshman this year,” Kelly said. “He’s supposed to be a senior in high school. He’s a guy that’s fast, plays physically, too. He’s got the playbook down, now. I see him making progress. Everything’s progressing really well with him. He’s a playmaker. Once he gets comfortable in situations, he’s going to be really good in the future for us.”
“Conley’s very physical,” Kelly added. “Very fast. He knows what he’s doing, knows how to cover, knows how to make plays and make tackles in the open field. He’s a young guy with poise and has a bright side.”
Kelly doesn’t have to be the veteran leader in the secondary, however. He credits Patrice Rene with that role.
“All the adversity he’s faced,” Kelly said. “Me and him can relate on the knee (injury) situation. We call him OG. He’s been here. He was an original Rude Boy. We look up to him, take notes from him. Anything he has to give, we take it. He holds everybody accountable, makes sure we’re dialed in as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s safety, nickel, corners, even linebackers. He’s definitely very vocal, very much a leader on this team.”