November 7, 2016
This season isn’t what fans, players or coaches had hoped for the University of Mississippi football team. It has been a rough campaign for this team since it kicked off the season against Florida State University.
The Rebels have blown leads in the second half against http://www.espn.com/college-football/recap?gameId=400868979">FSU and the http://www.espn.com/college-football/recap?gameId=400868997">University of Alabama. The team suffered a http://www.espn.com/college-football/team/schedule/_/id/145">three-game losing streak to the University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University and Auburn University.
Just as things couldn’t get worse for the Rebels, the team suffered a pyrrhic victory against Georgia Southern University. In the 37-27 comeback, http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/17987716/college-career-ole-miss-rebels-chad-kelly-done-knee-injury">UM quarterback Chad Kelly tore his ACL and lateral meniscus.
The injury will sideline the senior for the rest of this season and will have short- and long-term ramifications for the parties involved.
In the short term, the Rebels need two more wins in the http://www.espn.com/college-football/boxscore?gameId=400869046">last three games to become bowl eligible. Now, it seems like that mission just got even harder to accomplish.
This weekend, UM travels to Texas A&M University. The Aggies might be without their starting quarterback, as well, because Trevor Knight injured his shoulder in a loss to Mississippi State University.
Texas A&M is a better team when Knight is on the field, but his backup, http://www.espn.com/college-football/boxscore?gameId=400869046">Jake Hubenak, went 11 for 17 for 222 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in relief. On the other hand, UM backup Jason Pellerin went one for five, passing for 19 yards with an interception, and rushed for 29 yards on four carries.
Hubenak gets to play his first start—if he has to start—at home, and Pellerin will make the start in a hostile road environment. UM does have the option of taking the http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/17987716/college-career-ole-miss-rebels-chad-kelly-done-knee-injury">redshirt off highly touted quarterback recruit Shea Patterson.
At this point in the season, no change at quarterback is a great option. Still, the Rebels will have to make a decision quickly.
After Texas A&M, UM hits the road again to face a tough Vanderbilt University. The Commodores are in need of two wins to become bowl eligible, as well.
Of course the Rebels regular season ends at home against MSU. Both teams need two wins to get to six wins, and this game could be a winner-goes-bowling game.
In the short term, UM will struggle without Kelly but should be fine down the road with Patterson at quarterback. Getting to a bowl this season will help whoever starts at quarterback for the rest of the season with the extra practice time for the postseason game.
Long term, this injury might hurt Kelly’s draft status. The injury he suffered normally requires https://djournal.com/sports/record-breaking-ole-miss-career-ends-chad-kelly/">four to seven months of recovery time.
That means Kelly will miss any bowl game and any postseason http://www.seniorbowl.com/watch-list-profiles.php?position=&conference=&s_id=75">All-Star games such as the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine and the Rebels Pro Day. Kelly doesn’t get any more chances on film to impress scouts with his abilities.
https://djournal.com/sports/record-breaking-ole-miss-career-ends-chad-kelly/">CBSSports.com had him as the top senior quarterback in this draft class and the fourth best quarterback overall behind potential juniors leaving early. In a recent http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000735406/article/chad-kelly-receives-seventhround-draft-projection-postinjury">NFL.com article, draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah saw Kelly as a mid-round pick before the injury but now sees the quarterback as a seventh-round pick or undrafted free agent.
Kelly will intrigue teams. He has a good pedigree, with his uncle being Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
The Rebels quarterback has a strong arm and the ability to throw any pass required in the NFL. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000727411/article/grading-the-big-5-week-8-grade-for-ole-miss-qb-chad-kelly">His decision-making skills can leave you scratching your head at times, especially this season, but there is no question about his fight or will to win.
Kelly was sensational in his first season in Oxford in 2015, but this season hasn’t been the same. He has still put up solid numbers, throwing for 2,758 yards and leading the SEC in total yards with 3,090 yards. The quarterback has thrown 19 touchdowns and ran for another five but does have 11 turnovers.
Even if he can’t do everything in the run up to the draft, Kelly can discuss http://mmqb.si.com/mmqb/2016/10/26/nfl-draft-2017-chad-kelly-ole-miss-quarterback-red-flags-field">his off-the-field issues. He has plenty to talk about, and those are the reasons he ended up at UM in the first place.
If Kelly can explain his http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000728175/article/ole-miss-chad-kelly-draft-me-for-my-swag">earlier actions and show that he has matured, he could talk a team into drafting him. It wouldn’t be hard to see some team thinking they are getting Jim Kelly 2.0 if they can keep the younger Kelly’s head on straight.