"We got another quality receiver in Josh Huff," Kelly said. "Obviously I know him extremely well. Outstanding young man. Great position versatility with him. Josh played every position when we were at Oregon. He's been an outside receiver for us, he's been an inside receiver, he played a little bit of running back early in his career. He's returned kicks, he's an outstanding special teams player. You're getting a physical football player. Just a shade under six feet, between 205 and 210 pounds. He has a nasty presence to himself. He's not risk averse to contact, he's going to get after people, he's a physical player in the run game. I'm really excited to add him to the group. One of the things, especially with wide receivers and (defensive backs) and all those other positions, is if you're not the starter, you have to be a special teams player, and I think he'd be a standout there."
Huff had a very difficult upbringing but found a rock-solid support system at Oregon, with people who genuinely cared and wanted to help him succeed. Once he was comfortable in that environment, his play on the field took off, as did his performance in the classroom.
"(Huff) developed a great relationship with Scott Frost, who was our wide receivers coach at the time and now is the current offensive coordinator (at Oregon)," Kelly said. "I think he grew to trust everyone on the coaching staff and kind of considered them family. He's a special young man in terms of what he's been able to accomplish. He's graduated, he has a degree. Obviously, he had a different upbringing than some people, but he never used it as an excuse and always kind of used it as fuel for the fire for him to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish. He's got an opportunity now to play in the National Football League and he graduated, so it's a real good deal. He's a real neat kid and you're really going to enjoy him when he gets here."
The Eagles have placed a premium on establishing a culture under Kelly and emphasizing certain characteristics with players. One of those is intelligence, which goes hand-in-hand with commitment. For that reason, Kelly stresses the importance of players getting their degrees and graduating from college. Huff is no exception.
"I think it's important from the standpoint of, number one, intelligence is a huge part of what we're looking for in every aspect, whether it's offense, defense or special teams," Kelly said. "The fact that they have a degree has proven where they are from an intelligence factor. But the other thing is, what's their commitment? When they set goals for themselves, can they follow through on them? A lot of people can tell you that they want to do this, this and this, but look at their accomplishments. I think, sometimes, when you look at those things, it's always a plus when you have (a degree). Tony Dungy came to speak to our team when I was at Oregon. He had some statistic that blew my mind that the two teams from 2000-2010 that had the most graduates were the Colts and the Patriots. So there's something to it. Teams that are really successful seem to have that. So I think (having a degree) shows their intelligence, but I also think it shows their commitment and ability to follow through on their goals."
Huff shared his new – and former – coach's enthusiasm about joining the Eagles.
"It was exciting," Huff said. "I was speechless. Being reunited with my former head coach in college, just having that opportunity is a lovely feeling. He said he was going to draft me and he kept his word."
That's right, Huff was tipped off that Kelly wanted to draft him. Kelly did not tell him directly, but Huff relayed to reporters that Eagles wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell and Frost (Oregon's offensive coordinator) both told him of Kelly's intentions during the Oregon pro day.
"Right around the third round," Huff replied when asked if he was told when the Eagles planned to draft him. "So when I got that call and the 2-1-5 popped up on my phone, I immediately started crying. It's just a dream come true for me, and I can't wait to come out there and get to work."
A dream come true, prayers answered and a journey that has come full circle.
"I prayed that I would be reunited with [Kelly] again," Huff said. "Now that I am reunited with him, I can't wait to get to work with him. He's had a major role in my life. He gave me the opportunity, first and foremost, to go out to Oregon and compete at the highest level. I thank him for that. He continued to groom me the three years that we were there together and he made me into a better man and made me who I am today."
From Eugene to Philadelphia, Huff and Kelly are back together again, ready to rekindle their success.