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Ryan Kelly decided in late February that Stonehill College is where the Trumbull High football player wanted to continue his career.

“It was just the right fit,” said the 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker. “They have a great business school and I’m going to study finance.”

The Skyhawks had an advantage in selling Kelly on packing his bags and heading to Easton (Mass.) to compete in the Northeast-10 Conference — his brother Jack is in his third season playing for coach Eli Gardner.

“Stonehill was the best choice for me,” Kelly said. “But going to a school where Jack is playing just made it feel right. I joined the varsity at Trumbull when Jack was a senior. It was a lot of fun and really helped me make the transition.”

Kelly has had a few other role models — Trumbull graduate Don Cherry (Villanova) and St. Joseph’s Tyler Matakevich (Temple).

“I read about how much preparation they put in, and how studying offenses helped them,” Kelly said of the two NFL signees. “By watching tape on other teams you learn their tendencies. Any time you can save a step makes a big difference.”

Trumbull finished 7-3 this past season.

“This senior class all loved the game and our coaches put us in the best position to win each week,” Kelly said. “As sophomores, record wise, we weren’t great but we were learning. Junior year was better, but not where we wanted to be. As seniors, we really wanted to make playoffs but I’m proud of our season.”

Kelly pointed to Trumbull head coach Bob Maffei and assistant coach Gene Cellini for helping him become the best player he could be.

“Coach Maff is very energetic and can really get us going,” he said. “He breaks down the game plan and has each of us ready.

“Coach Gene has been with me since I began playing football when I was seven. First at Pop Warner for two years, then my freshman year, and again with the varsity. He always has a way of pushing me to be better.”

Kelly is joining a Stonehill program that posted a 5-6 record, 4-5 in conference.

“They are getting a player in Ryan who has great instincts,” Maffei said. “He was our quarterback on defense, setting the front for us and making all the calls. Ryan made himself into a player and had a really great year.”

Cellini is eager to see how Ryan pairs up again with his brother at Stonehill.

“I saw how they pushed each other and I hope Ryan and Jack can carry on that tradition at Stonehill,” Cellini said. “I’ve coached Ryan since sixth grade and at every level on up. His work ethic is unsurpassed. He’ll be a great addition.”