Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze saved the college career of Chad Kelly, the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, when he signed the former Clemson quarterback out of East Mississippi Community College.
Now, Kelly has a chance to revive his career.
Freeze announced Kelly as the starter for Ole Miss' opening game Saturday against Tennessee-Martin, per the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Although the Rebels coach was tepid in his endorsement -- saying Kelly will start "unless something changes" this week, and adding that he's not ready to name Kelly the starter for the entire season -- the second-chance opportunity for Kelly is undeniable.
Kelly was dismissed from Clemson for conduct detrimental to the program following Clemson's 2014 spring game, and coach Dabo Swinney noted at the time that Kelly was not dismissed for a single incident, but had exhibited pattern behavior "inconsistent with the values of our program." He signed with EMCC and enjoyed a prolific season there in 2014, passing for 3,906 yards with 47 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
Freeze took notice and signed Kelly in December, but Kelly was arrested about a week later following an altercation at a Buffalo bar. He reached a plea agreement on a charge of non-criminal disorderly conduct and completed 50 hours of community service.
Freeze had been non-committal about Kelly's playing status throughout the preseason until Monday.