By STEVE HEISER
The football odyssey of a former Red Lion High School quarterback has stopped in a new destination.
Chad Kelly committed to play for the University of Mississippi on Wednesday.
After spending 48 hours in Oxford, Kelly felt it was time to pull the trigger and commit to the Rebels.
Kelly (@ChadKelly_11) announced his decision Wednesday afternoon by tweeting: “All I Can Say Is HottyToddy!!!!!! It’s A Great Day To Be A Ole Miss Rebel !!!! Can’t Wait To Be A Rebel !!!! #HottyToddy
Kelly will enroll at Ole Miss in time to participate in spring practice and battle rising sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade for the opportunity to replace senior QB Bo Wallace. The Rebels play in the Southeastern Conference, which is generally considered to be the premier college football league in the nation. The Rebels are 9-3 this season and ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press Top 25. They will play No. 6 Texas Christian in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia, on New Year’s Eve.
Kelly played for East Mississippi Community College this past season and is coming off of a dominant performance in Biloxi, where he threw for 434 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Lions past Iowa Western, 34-17, in the Mississippi Bowl, which is the championship of the National Junior College Athletic Association. As a sophomore at EMCC, Kelly completed 303 of 453 passes for 3,906 yards and 47 touchdowns with eight interceptions. EMCC finished 12-0.
Kelly, the nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, was an Under Armour All-American out of high school. As a senior at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in New York, Kelly passed for 3,050 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 991 yards and 14 touchdown.
He originally signed with Clemson out of high school, but after redshirting in 2012 and playing in just five games in 2013, Kelly was dismissed from the team following the 2014 spring game because of “conduct detrimental to the team.”
That was not the first time that Kelly was embroiled in turmoil.
He started his high school career at Red Lion, where he started a game as a freshman before he was suspended from the team for undisclosed reasons. He returned for his sophomore year with the Lions and started five games, before he was again suspended from the team for undisclosed reasons.
At that point, Kelly’s family pulled up roots in York County and moved to the Buffalo, New York, region.
Before his stint at Red Lion, Kelly gained notoriety in York County as a youngster when he won multiple NFL Punt, Pass and Kick national titles. One of those championships came after he suffered a near-paralyzing spinal cord injury while working out at a camp in the Buffalo area operated by Jim Kelly.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Kelly has two years of eligibility remaining. He chose Ole Miss over offers from Indiana and Virginia Tech.
Kelly is the Rebels’ second quarterback in the 2015 class, joining New Iberia, La., signal caller Jason Pellerin.
— Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com. The (Biloxi) Sun Herald and The Buffalo News contributed to this report.