The Clemson Insider caught up with a standout signal-caller from the Cornhusker State who impressed Clemson offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter with his performance at the Dabo Swinney Camp earlier this summer.
Bellevue West High School (Bellevue, Neb.) quarterback Daniel Kaelin – a 6-foot-3, 195-pound rising junior in the 2024 class – recently spoke with TCI as he got set to start his season, which kicks off tonight against Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb).
“I think this summer and offseason has gone really good,” he said. “Last year ended in the semis. We thought we had a really good team that could’ve went the whole way, so I think that’s something we used as motivation this offseason. But we’re past that now. We’ve been working really hard. Especially these last couple weeks and in camp, been seeing a lot of improvement. So, I think we’re in a really good spot right now and ready to get this season started.”
Playing last season as part of a quarterback rotation, Kaelin threw for 700 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions while helping Bellevue West to a 10-2 record in 2021.
As he approached his junior campaign, Kaelin’s focus was geared more toward the mental aspect of football rather than the physical side of the game.
“Right now, I think coming closer to the season, I think really just my preparation, more of the football IQ side is really the biggest thing that I’m trying to hone in – I would say as far as execution of plays and the more mental side of the game,” he said. “Because a lot of the offseason is when you’re doing hard training, even in the summer, is training your body to be at the peak athletic performance that you could be and then just training your arm. So I think right now the biggest thing that I’m focusing on in my game is just knowing our playbook inside and out, being an extension of my coach on the field for my teammates and having the highest possible execution on the field.”
The No. 4 prospect in the state of Nebraska regardless of position according to Rivals, 247Sports and the 247Sports Composite, Kaelin has collected a double-digit list of scholarship offers that includes Arizona State, Duke, Florida State, Kansas, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers and Vanderbilt.
The recruiting process isn’t Kaelin’s primary focus right now, with most of his attention on his team and season, though he expects to have to juggle football and recruiting more come Sept. 1 when college coaches can begin actively reaching out to junior prospects like himself.
“I just want to limit all that so that nothing’s coming in the way of my performance and my team for this season,” he said of the recruiting process. “Obviously September 1st is coming up and that’ll bring a couple more stuff with recruiting, and I’ll make sure to quiet that out as quickly as possible. But right now, just the season and my team is what I’m focusing on right now.”
Prior to participating in the Swinney Camp this summer, Kaelin also traveled to Tiger Town for an unofficial visit on April 8.
According to Kaelin, his coach has been in contact with Clemson a little bit since he camped there in June, and he would be happy to hear from the Tigers himself when Sept. 1 rolls around.
“I’m sure there’ll be some coaches that I don’t expect to reach out, to reach out,” he said. “Whoever does, I’m grateful for. I’m not necessarily hoping for anyone to. I already have a lot of great options right now. But Clemson would definitely be a great university and a great program. If they reached out, it’d definitely be pretty cool.”
When Kaelin thinks about Clemson’s program, its tradition at the quarterback position is something that certainly appeals to him, with the Tigers having developed players like Tajh Boyd, Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence in recent years.
“That definitely stands out,” he said. “When you look at a program, a part of that is seeing the coach that’s been there and who they’ve produced, how that program has produced quarterbacks. But obviously a quarterback-friendly offense, and they’ve had really successful quarterbacks that have gone on to do good things in the league. So, that definitely stands out about Clemson, for sure.”
Looking ahead, after this season, Kaelin expects to begin working toward making his commitment decision.
“Sometime after the season, I’ll start narrowing that down and figuring that out,” he said. “But I would say late winter would probably be the latest it could happen, right now. We’ll see.”
There are a handful of schools on his current offer list standing out to him right now, he said.
“I feel like I’ll get more clarity on that after September 1st and the more I can talk to coaches,” he said. “But who I’m talking to a lot right now is Michigan State, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Rutgers. That’s probably the four I talk to the most. Duke and Mizzou a little bit right now. But we’ll see what happens September 1st.”
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