There are a handful of underclassmen who won’t be back for a final year of Ole Miss football.
I’ve never thought of Chad Kelly in that group, and based on his reaction to the question last night, I don’t think Kelly had thought of that either.
But Kelly’s path to Oxford was unique. Sometimes stories unique at the beginning are unique at the end too.
“I’m just worried about this next game. Whatever happens happens, but I know one thing, that I need to get my degree. When you’re focused on a season and winning each game, game by game, it’s easy (to block out thinking of the future),” he said, adding that he “thinks” he’s on course to graduate in May.
Kelly leads the SEC in passing yards and touchdowns and is second in completion percentage and efficiency.
He’s 377 yards shy of breaking Eli Manning’s record of 3,600 passing yards in a season.
Kelly will be back, and Ole Miss should have a very interesting picture at quarterback provided verbal commit Shea Patterson follows through and signs.
Freshman Jason Pellerin, an athletic four-star signee redshirting this season, is kind of the forgotten man in the discussion.
“Dude’s got one of the livest arms I’ve ever seen. He’s a big, strong dude. He’s learning the offense. He’s paying attention in meetings. He’s taking everything in as any freshman would. He’s going a good job so far. I’m anxious to see what there is to come for him in the next couple of years,” Kelly said.
So are a lot of other folks if Patterson is indeed the future at the position as many believe.
Currently the Rebels also have quarterbacks Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade, both third-year sophomores who Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said were very close to Kelly in the August competition for the starting job.
All three quarterbacks played in the first two games. It wasn’t until Week 3 at Alabama that Kelly took all the snaps.
Buchanan, the holder for placement kicks, has played in every game this season. Since Fresno State in Week 2 Kincade has played in only one other game, New Mexico State.
Without a departure Ole Miss will have five scholarship quarterbacks next season, and only one of them, Kelly, a senior.