Ex-Red Lion QB staying at Ole Miss

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (TNS)

It’s official.

Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly has had successful sports hernia surgery. He will miss the rest of spring practice, but is expected back for August practice. He is a former quarterback at Red Lion High School.

Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly has announced that he will return for his senior season.

The former Red Lion High School quarterback posted impressive numbers down the stretch as the Rebels completed a 10-3 season with a 48-20 win over Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.

In spite of that, it was not expected that he would declare early for the NFL draft as three of his teammates did earlier this month.

College underclassmen have until Jan. 18 to announce their intentions. Monday, the Buffalo (N.Y.) News published a press release attributed to Jim Kelly Inc., Kelly’s Hall of Fame uncle and former Buffalo Bills quarterback.

“After serious discussions with my family and Coach (Hugh) Freeze, I wanted my friends and fans to know that I’ll be staying at Ole Miss for my senior year. I look forward to completing my degree and graduating from Ole Miss,” Chad Kelly said in the release. “We’ve lost a lot of starters, but we’re still deep in talent, and I’m excited to get back to work …”

Kelly completed 298 of 458 passes for 4,042 yards with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season. He also rushed for 500 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Kelly has a reputation for spending massive amounts of time studying video of opponents as well as his own performances.

“It feels great to be a part of a winning team for a school with such a rich history, but I realize that there’s still a lot of learning and growing that I can do with this team. It will take the hard work and commitment of everyone involved, but I believe that we have a committed coaching staff and some of the best players in college football. I can’t wait to see what we can do together in 2016.”

His Ole Miss future was in question following an arrest in Buffalo days after his signing in late 2014.Freeze ultimately welcomed Kelly, who survived a three-player competition to become the starter.

That was the latest in a series of disciplinary and off-field incidents for Kelly, including getting kicked off the Red Lion team in both his freshman and sophomore seasons before his family moved from York County to the Buffalo area for his final two high school years, where he excelled.

In closing the statement, he mentioned his family roots in underscoring the closeness he says he feels with Ole Miss football and the school’s student population as well.

“As a Kelly, I’ve been fortunate to grow up with a tight-knit family. Coach Freeze and everyone here at Ole Miss have become a part of my family,” Kelly said. “Our goal this year is to win the SEC West and to compete for a National Championship.”