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Winning as a team is all that matters to Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly

Winning as a team is all that matters to Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly

Bringing a championship to Oxford is all Chad Kelly wanted to do once he stepped onto the University of Mississippi campus earlier this year. Paying close attention to the quarterbacks before him was enough to make Kelly want to come in and lead an offense blessed with explosive receivers.

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Chad Kelly leads the SEC in total passing yards. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

Kelly wants to live up to the standards left by his predecessors at quarterback, and there is no doubt he is off to a great start.  

While he definitely thought about bringing the Rebels some hardware, Kelly never placed personal accolades on his bucket list—like leading the Southeastern Conference in passing yards or leading his team in rushing touchdowns (nine).

All he wanted to do was help No. 18 Ole Miss (8-3, 5-2) be one of the most high-powered offenses in the country. He never thought about breaking records held by former Rebel greats like Bo Wallace and Eli Manning. But that is exactly what he has done this season. 

Because of his positive mindset and incredible work ethic, a lot has happened for the 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior quarterback with a cannon for an arm. In the 38-17 win over LSU, Kelly broke the school record for total offense yards in a season (3,857), eclipsing Wallace’s 3,701 in 2013, and also broke the school record for touchdowns responsible for in a season (34), eclipsing Manning’s 32 in 2001.

Kelly has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 11 games this season and is now tied with Wallace for third-most in school history.

And for someone with excellent field vision, awareness, and accurate passing abilities, Kelly hasn’t paid much attention to what he, himself, has achieved in his first year at Ole Miss. Just helping this year’s Rebels team win a lot of games has always been Kelly’s motive, something about which he constantly thinks.

Humble Kelly gives credit to teammates and coaches

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Kelly is quick to credit his teammates and coaches for the individual success he is having this season. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

Because of the talent around him, Kelly is not at all surprised by his gaudy numbers. When asked if he ever imagined having the success he has seen this season, Kelly, as usual, gave the credit to his teammates.

“I think I did when I saw all of the receivers that I had,” Kelly said without hesitation, admitting the guys around him make his job a lot easier. “But it’s not possible without the coaches putting us in great situations. The offensive line does a great job blocking every week. They are the ones that really make it happen.

“The running backs have to run hard to open up the pass game and I think as a whole offense, we have done a great job overall balancing it out and keeping the defense on its toes.”

Kelly happy to be in Freeze’s quarterback-friendly system

Bo Wallace is only 113 yards shy of Eli Manning's record for career offense. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland)

Bo Wallace surpassed 3,000 passing yards in his last two season as a Rebel. (Photo credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

Under head coach Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss has had a lot of success throwing the football, and it started with Bo Wallace, who surpassed 3,000 passing yards in his last two seasons as a Rebel. Now it’s Kelly’s turn, and he has made himself comfortable in an offense that’s averaging 40.45 points per game.

Freeze likes to describe the offense Kelly runs as “quarterback friendly.”

“Every play works. Every play is designed to work,” said Kelly, who has completed 64.81 percent of his passes (256 of 395), throwing for 3,504 yards.

“That’s why they are coaches. We are just supposed to go out there and execute what they give us to do and there are outlets for every coverage and everything the defense presents to us. So, it is definitely quarterback friendly.”

(Feature image credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

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