Teams & Conferences

Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly Torn ACL, Out For Year: What Does It All Mean?


Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly suffered a torn ACL against Georgia Southern and is out for the year. What does it all mean?


Contact @PeteFiutak

Chad Kelly Torn ACL: What Does It All Mean For Ole Miss?

Coming from the Ole Miss athletic department: “Ole Miss senior quarterback Chad Kelly suffered a torn ACL and torn lateral meniscus in Saturday’s game against Georgia Southern. He will undergo season-ending surgery this week.”

Kelly was everything to the Rebels in a rebuilding year for the program, completing 63% of his passes for 2,758 yards and 19 touchdowns with eight picks, while running for 332 yards and five scores. He even punted three times averaging 44 yards per boot. He his Alabama for 421 yards and three scores, and threw for 465 yards and three touchdowns against Auburn, but now his season – and his Ole Miss career – are done.

The timing for Kelly is devastating. The 6-2, 224-pounder was projected to be a late-first round pick, possibly early second, in the 2017 NFL Draft. He might not have the size, but he’s got the mobility, the arm, and the passing skills to be a next-level starter. There’s no timetable yet for his return, but to speculate, go ahead and rule out the ability to workout like he’ll need to for the NFL Combine and before the draft.

Welcome to the Jason Pellerin era. The 6-4, 230-pound freshman was a good recruit for the program, but not an elite one with next-level passing upside and the athleticism to take off and run when needed. With Kelly out against Georgia Southern, Pellerin stepped in and ran for times for 29 yards, but he only completed one of his five passes with a pick. On the year, mostly in garbage time, he completed 5-of-13 passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns and three picks, and ran for 96 yards and three scores – with two against Memphis.

At 4-5, Ole Miss needs to rally just to get bowling. It’s not going to be easy with a road trip to Texas A&M up next, followed up by a date at Vanderbilt, and with the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State to close. While a bowl game might not seem like a big deal, it could really, really matter because …

What does it all really mean?: The Rebels need Pellerin – if he turns out to be the guy – to become a star for the next three games, and they need the rest of the parts to step up to get that post-season date. Considering the relative youth on the team, and needing to develop Pellerin, getting the extra practices in the bowl season would jump-start the team going into 2017. But it’s going to be an uphill climb for a team that was struggling before the Georgia Southern game – and that was with Kelly.