Illinois plucks D.C. safety Darwyn Kelly

Three-star safety Darwyn Kelly (Washington, D.C./Howard D. Woodson) made a trip to Illinois this past weekend, and he called Fighting Illini coach Tim Beckman on Friday to tell him he made a decision.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety became the Illini’s 16th commitment for the 2013 class.

“It was somewhere I can get a quality education that meant something,” said Kelly, who plans to major in business. “It was somewhere I can go and basically compete for a starting spot my freshman year when I come in there.”

This past weekend was the first time Kelly was on campus at Illinois, and he had a chance to talk with Beckman.

“We talked about 20 minutes, and he seemed like a good, cool person that was down to earth that had a goal in mind and had a purpose,” Kelly said. “That’s what I wanted to hear.”

Kelly will likely play free safety but said he can play any of the positions in the secondary.

“My best qualities are my knowledge of the game and my instincts and awareness, and I have great coverage skills in man or zone and I can come up and help in run support,” he said.

Colorado, Duke, East Carolina, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Kansas, North Carolina and Purdue also offered.

Kelly will graduate early and enroll at Illinois in January.