The buzz had been building for quite some time.
Where did Ole Miss stand with East Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly?
“He’s a popular dude,” East Mississippi coach Buddy Stephens said. “Everyone wants to know where he’s going to go. That seems to be the question everyone wants answered.”
Wednesday afternoon, it was.
Kelly, the nation’s top junior college quarterback, posted on Twitter that he had committed to Ole Miss after taking his official visit to Oxford with his family.
Kelly said LSU, Indiana and Virginia Tech were among his finalists.
“I like it in Oxford,” Kelly said after winning his second national championship at East Mississippi on Sunday. “…I really, really like it.”
Kelly fills a major need for Ole Miss with senior Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace – also an East Mississippi product- gone after the season.
Kelly, ranked the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback out of his school, has two years of eligibility left.
“I know Bo Wallace, he’s a great quarterback and he happens to be leaving,” Kelly said. “I have to go in there and fight for the job…. They’re looking for a guy to come in right away, that’s why you recruit a junior college quarterback.”
Kelly, a nephew of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, signed with Clemson out of high school but was dismissed from the team because of what Tigers coach Dabo Swinney called “patterns of behavior not consistent with the values of our program.”
“If someone takes a step into Scooba, Mississippi – that’s a very humbling experience. it really woke me up,” he said. “… You have your teammates, coaches and school here and that’s all. I think I’ve grown a lot. I’ve changed a lot.”
But he’s still confident.
“I think I’ll be very good,” Kelly said. “… I want to come in and be the guy.”
Stephens likes his chances.
“I’ll just put it this way: Chad Kelly at 80 percent is better than a lot of Division-I quarterbacks at 100 percent,” he said. “He’s got that X-factor to him.”
In 12 games at East Mississippi, Kelly completed 67 percent of his passes, threw for 3,905 yards and piled up 47 touchdowns. He threw just eight interceptions.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is the second quarterback committed in Ole Miss’ 2015 class, joining four-star Jason Pellerin.