Charles Kelly

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Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach

• Charles Kelly in 2016 enters his fourth season at Florida State and his third as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. Kelly coached linebackers and served as the special teams coordinator in his first season at FSU – the Seminoles’ undefeated national championship season in 2013.

• Kelly led one of the nation’s top defenses in 2015. Florida State ranked ninth in the country in scoring defense (17.8), 10th in yards per play allowed (4.69) and 19th in total defense (336.9). FSU was the only team in the nation that did not surrender 25 points in a regular season game, including a historic defensive performance at Florida where the Seminoles held the ninth-ranked Gators without an offensive point for the first time in over 28 years (1988) in the 27-2 victory.

• Despite losing both previous starting cornerbacks early to the 2015 NFL Draft, Kelly’s defensive backs paced the Seminoles defense behind consensus All-American Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey, who was selected with the No. 5 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, moved from nickelback to boundary cornerback and combined with first-year starters Marquez White (CB), Trey Marshall (DB), Derwin James (S), Lamarcus Brutus (S) and former walk-on Javien Elliott (DB) to form one of the nation’s best units.

• Kelly’s defense made huge improvements across the board in nearly every major category, moving from 50th in scoring defense in 2014 (25.6) to ninth in 2015 (17.8), from 63rd in total defense (396.9) to 19th (336.9), from 73rd in rushing defense (170.14) to 37th (145.31) and from 60th in passing defense (226.8) to 21st (181.6). One of the most notable leaps in improvement came in sacks, where FSU totaled 32 to finish in a tie for 31st nationally after registering 17 in 2014. The Noles also finished 15th in the country in opponent passer rating (110.94) and 19th in opponent passing TDs (14).

• In addition to Ramsey, who earned first team All-America and All-ACC honors, several other Seminoles grabbed honors on defense in 2015, including defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample (All-ACC First Team, signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns) defensive end DeMarcus Walker (10.5 sacks, All-ACC second team), linebacker Reggie Northrup (All-ACC second team, signed a free agent contract with the Washington Redskins), linebacker Terrance Smith (signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, three-time All-ACC) and James (freshman All-American).

• In two seasons as the defensive coordinator at FSU, Kelly has already had five defensive players selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft with Mario Edwards, Jr. (second), Eddie Goldman (second), Ronald Darby (second) and P.J. Williams (third) joining Ramsey. Kelly was also the linebackers coach for the fifth-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars and FSU All-American Telvin Smith and current Chicago Bears linebacker Christian Jones during the 2013 season. During his 21-year collegiate coaching career, Kelly has seen over 20 of his players appear in NFL games.

• Kelly’s defense in 2014 led the Seminoles to the first-ever College Football Playoff and helped continue Florida State’s program-record 29-game winning streak.

• The Noles’ defense proved to be one of the nation’s best at making second-half adjustments as FSU made five fourth-quarter comebacks in 2014. FSU also ranked in the Top 20 nationally in opponent red-zone conversions. The Seminoles held eight of nine ACC opponents to fewer points in the second half than their first-half total and only allowed four fourth-quarter touchdowns to conference foes.

• Several Florida State defensive players captured national awards in 2014, including Ramsey and cornerback P.J. Williams, who were each named All-Americans. Edwards Jr. and Goldman also collected All-America honors. Ramsey, Williams, Edwards, and Goldman all collected All-ACC first team honors as well. Smith, Northrup and Darby also grabbed all-conference honors.

• Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher promoted Kelly to defensive coordinator in February 2014, following a 2013 season where his linebackers helped guide a dominant defense that led the nation in scoring defense (12.1), pass defense (156.6) and interceptions (26), and ranked third in total defense (281.4). Only two teams scored more than 17 points against the Seminoles.

• In 2013, FSU’s linebackers helped Florida State rank third in the ACC and 18th in the nation in rushing defense (124.79) and eighth in the country in opponent third down conversions (31.92 conversion percentage).

• Additionally, Kelly led the nation’s most prolific special teams units with freshman kicker Roberto Aguayo and freshman kick returner Kermit Whitfield rewriting the ACC and NCAA record books in 2013.  Aguayo set the national record for points by a kicker (157) and extra points (94) en route to capturing All-America honors and the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation’s top kicker. Whitfield returned two kicks for touchdowns, including the 100-yard return that gave FSU the lead in the national championship game. His 36.4 return average shattered the FSU and ACC record and led the nation.

• Kelly came to FSU after seven years as a special teams and defensive backs coach at Georgia Tech. He was elevated to interim defensive coordinator in the sixth game of the 2012 season when the Yellow Jackets had a 2-4 record. After taking over as defensive coordinator, Kelly helped Georgia Tech finish 5-3 (7-7 overall), including a Hyundai Sun Bowl victory over USC. Kelly’s defense limited the high-powered Trojan offense to 205 yards and seven points in the bowl win.

• In 2011, Kelly inherited four new starters in the secondary and molded that youthful unit into a group that helped Georgia Tech rank second in the ACC and 28th nationally in pass defense.

• Kelly served as the Yellow Jackets’ special teams coordinator in 2006 and 2007. He was instrumental in making Georgia Tech one of the nation’s best special teams units in 2007. That group went from 119th in the nation in kick-return defense in 2006 to second in 2007. Under Kelly’s guidance, punter Durant Brooks and placekicker Travis Bell each earned first team All-ACC accolades. Brooks earned the prestigious Ray Guy Award in 2007 and recorded the highest career punting average in ACC history.

• Kelly spent the previous four seasons at Nicholls State, an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) program, which captured the Southland Conference title in 2005. Under Kelly, who served as defensive backs coach during his first two seasons at Nicholls, the Colonels finished as the top-ranked defense in the Southland Conference in 2005 and 17th nationally among FCS programs.

• Kelly was instrumental in developing two-time All-America cornerback Chris Thompson, who was drafted in 2004 by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

• Kelly went to Nicholls State in 2002 from Eufaula (Ala.) High School, where he served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for two seasons. Prior to his move to the high school ranks, the Ozark, Ala., native spent one season (1999) as defensive coordinator at Henderson State and two seasons as defensive coordinator at Jacksonville State.

• Before going to Jacksonville State, Kelly served one year as a graduate assistant at Auburn and was part of the Tigers’ 11-0 season in 1993.

• Kelly has coached over 20 players that have made it to the NFL, including Ramsey, Aguayo, Terrance Smith, Brutus, Northrup, Giorgio Newberry, Javien Elliott, Edwards Jr., Goldman, Darby, Williams, Telvin Smith, Jones, Brooks, Thompson, Delvin Hughley, Rod Sweeting, Isaiah Johnson, Jemea Thomas, Calvin Jackson, Chris Shelling, Dell McGee, Jahi Word-Daniels and Mario Butler.

• A 1990 graduate of Auburn with a degree in secondary math education, Kelly played defensive back under former Tiger coach Pat Dye. His senior class put together a four-year record of 39-7-2 while participating in four bowl games. In 2002, Kelly earned a master’s degree in education from Troy State.

• Kelly and his wife, Kristy, have three daughters, Caroline, Kathleen and Charli Grace.