Chad Kelly’s redshirt-freshman at Clemson was cut short when he was dismissed for conduct detrimental to the team. Kelly spent the second half of the 2014 spring game yelling at coaches according to The Post and Courier’s Aaron Brenner, and he was dismissed from the football team.
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Chad then transferred to East Mississippi Community College. In his lone season with the EMCC Lions in 2014, he started all 12 games and threw for nearly 4,000 yards with 47 touchdowns and eight interceptions. That was good enough for a 12–0 record and the NJCAA National Football Championship.
December of 2014 saw the peaks of Mt. Evans and the lows of The Black Canyon as Chad Kelly committed to the University of Mississippi but also found himself incarcerated in Buffalo, NY following an altercation at a night club. The night club incident didn’t help to quiet the character issues that some believed he had.
Chad “Swag” Kelly was an instant hit at Ole Miss in 2015. Chad Kelly earned second-team All-SEC honors with 4,042 yards, 31 TD’s, 13 INT’s passing; and 500 yards, 10 TD’s rushing. All while leading Ole Miss to wins over Alabama, Auburn, and LSU for the first time in the same year in school history. Along the way he broke 14 school passing records. Then Kelly was the Sugar Bowl MVP as Ole Miss blew out Oklahoma State 48-20.
2016 was not a great one for Chad Kelly. Even though he was again named second-team All-SEC as a senior, his college career ended early with a torn right ACL and lateral meniscus in November of 2016. There was also a negative headline in October of 2016 when Chad Kelly attended his younger brother’s high school football game.
As his Uncle Jim Kelly explained to Sporting News “He wasn’t involved in (a) brawl, but people have to put that as a headline. He goes, ‘Uncle Jim, I saw my little brother getting kicked. What do you want me to do, stand there and watch? I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I was just trying to get him off the bottom of the pile at a high school football game.'”
Then, during the pre-draft process of 2017, Kelly ruptured a ligament between two bones in his throwing wrist which also required surgery.
Injury and character concerns clouded his NFL future. He was not invited to the NFL combine. He tested as ESPN Sport Science’s most accurate quarterback leading up to the draft. Yet, he was drafted…last.