Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Vassallo: Chad Kelly – Up, Up and Away

Chad Kelly's first pass as a Rebel at the UT Martin game on September 5, 2015  (Photo by Danny Dickey)
Chad Kelly’s first pass as a Rebel at the UT Martin game on September 5, 2015 (Photo by Danny Dickey)

Borrowing a quote from the late, great Yogi Berra…”Who woulda thunk it?”

Chad Kelly was the story for 2015 Ole Miss football. True, there were other subplots, however, Kelly stole the show. The following supports this position:

To start with, let’s examine his stats which are stellar:

    Completions 298
    Attempts 458
    Completion Percentage 65.1
    Yards 4042
    Average 8.8
    Passing Touchdowns 31
    Interceptions 13
    Rushing Yards 509
    Average 4.8
    Rushing Touchdowns 10


Kelly got better as the season progressed. In the UT Martin game, he only attempted 15 passes which was his season low compared to 51 in the Auburn game which was the season high. In the final four games, he settled in to an average of 33 attempts which provided a more balanced attack. And in five games Kelly had no interceptions!

With the team finishing 10th in the final AP Poll, returning a great starting quarterback for the following season is huge. The Rebs should hold a clear edge against all 12 opponents in 2016 as to quarterback efficiency. And anytime this is the case, the team with the better quarterback has a good chance to prevail. The upcoming season may be the Rebs’ best chance under Coach Freeze to win the SEC west and the national title. In any event, suggesting another top ten finish is an easy call to make.

Quarterbacks like Kelly are quite rare. Most Ole Miss fans would even rate him now (only after one season) as one of the best signal callers in Rebel history. I would rate him currently in the top seven with the potential to rise to the top spot. Should the team win the SEC West this coming year and possibly something greater, Kelly will place himself among the elite. However, even if he performs at the same level in 2016 as he did in 2015, his legacy at Ole Miss will be forever enshrined.

And when our current students and fans return to campus in future years, their visit to the Jake Gibbs Letterwinner Walk will be to search for the name of Chad Kelly. He certainly deserves all of our respect. He earned it!

Special thanks to FOXSports for statistical information.

Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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