Dayne Crist is Notre Dame's No. 1 quarterback, but there isn't a definite No. 2 yet because of the progress of freshman Tommy Rees.
Rees has moved within striking distance of taking over the backup role from Nate Montana.
"Those two are very, very close," Kelly said. "We are going to need a little more time to decide who that No. 2 is."
Rees' progress was helped by his participation in spring practice after he enrolled early. But that head start isn't the only reason Kelly is putting Rees in front of fellow freshmen quarterbacks Luke Massa and Andrew Hendrix.
"If he was here longer was his only trait, he wouldn't be where he is," Kelly said of Rees. "He's really savvy. He's a smart kid. He has those intangibles of a quarterback relative to seeing things before they open up and can anticipate very well. Obviously, the weaknesses, we'd like him faster. We'd like him stronger.
"He's got a great head for the game. He understands the offense very well. I want to be very careful in saying he's not No. 2 just because he's been here longer than the other two freshmen. He showed us early on that he can run this offense. By virtue of that, he got more reps than the other two guys."
As for Montana, Kelly said he needs to see more consistency from the son of the former Notre Dame and NFL star Joe Montana.
"Nate's problem is he has a really good day and then a really bad day," Kelly said.