Chandler Basha junior quarterback Ryan Kelley said he knew last week when he met with Oregon coach Mark Helfrich that he wanted to be a Duck.
He made his intention public of playing for Oregon during a news conference Thursday morning at Basha’s gymnasium.
“I just felt it was right for me,” Kelley said.
Kelley, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, rated by azcentral sports entering the season as the No. 1 quarterback in the state and ranked the No. 2 2017 prospect in the state, had already fallen in love with Oregon during an unofficial visit to Oregon in October. There is a strong Arizona connection in Eugene with former Mountain Pointe receiver Jalen Brown, ex-Phoenix Thunderbird running back Kani Benoit and former Brophy Prep receiver Devon Allen among six ex-Arizona high school football players on the Oregon roster.
“It was very welcoming there,” said Martha Kelley, Ryan’s mom.
Kelley, who averaged 276 passing yards and more than 300 total yards this season, said he liked the small, college-town atmosphere, especially during game time at loud Autzen Stadium.
“Their seasons, their school, their college town, everything about Oregon I really loved,” Kelley said.
Kelley had Arizona State among his top five, he said.
After ASU had landed senior wide receiver N’Keal Harry and athlete Chase Lucas of Chandler in the last week, there was speculation that Kelley might add to ASU’s recent trend of hitting it big with the in-state recruits.
Michigan State also was in hard on Kelley, whose former Basha teammate, wide receiver Hunter Rison, is committed to the Spartans.
But Kelley feels good about fitting in well with Oregon’s offense.
“I see myself as being able to run and throw, so I see myself fitting in really well,” he said.
Basha coach Gerald Todd said that Kelley won’t have to change his wardrobe with Basha’s primary color green.
“The thing about Ryan, he is a lot more athletic than throwing the ball,” Todd said. “If the pocket breaks down, he’s going to take off and get that first-down yardage. He’s very smart. He works the field really well. He runs really well. He’s about a 4.6 (40-yard time) guy. It’s hard to catch him once he gets out.”
Arizona’s top high school football prospects: 2017 class
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