EDITOR’S NOTE: Counting down to the first week of Ole Miss football practice the week of August 15, HottyToddy.com’s own Collin Brister, former sports editor of the Daily Mississippian, will bring you exclusive “5 at 5” analyses of either A) the opponents Ole Miss will be facing this season or B) some background on Ole Miss’ players at each position. It’s being called “5 at 5” because each original piece will give you 5 key things to know, and we will post these stories at 5 p.m. every Monday-Friday.
Ole Miss returns the best quarterback in the SEC, and arguably the country, in senior Chad Kelly.
Kelly led the Rebels to the Sugar Bowl during the 2015 season, the first since Archie Manning was taking snaps for the Rebels. Kelly, a Buffalo native, had the third most yards in SEC history with 4542 yards, only behind Johny Manziel’s 2012 and 2013 seasons, respectively. Kelly was extremely good last year on the road with exceptional performances at Alabama and at Mississippi State. While Kelly was somewhat turnover prone during the early portion of the season, he only threw one pick in the last four games of the year, while throwing for 1186 yards, 10 touchdowns and only one interception.
Shea Patterson will be one of the more interesting story lines throughout he 2016 season for the Rebels.
Patterson was the number one ranked quarterback in the 2016 signing class, and Ole Miss will have to make a decision whether they redshirt the Louisiana native or not with Kelly at the helm. Patterson would likely serve as Kelly’s backup if there’s an unfortunate injury. Patterson has the abilities of a star in the making, and likely would leave before his eligibility is up regardless, so the Rebels have an interesting decision to make in that regard.
Jason Pellerin is a 6-foot-4 230-pound quarterback that could serve the Rebels in a variety of roles. Pellerin has the making of a good quarterback, but with his size he could provide the Rebels the option of a short-yardage quarterback. The Rebels have used a myriad of options for short yardage situations over the past two seasons, including seeing defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche take handoffs and now turned offensive lineman Jeremy Liggins taking snaps. Pellerin’s size is comparable to Barry Brunetti who took snaps for the Rebels in the 2012-2013 seasons and provided Ole Miss a mobile threat.
While Pellerin is a threat from a running perspective, the Rebels opened up the offense the last four contests and allowed Chad Kelly to run the football. Kelly ran for 338 yards in the last four contests along with six touchdowns. The Rebels had over 2,000 yards of offense the last four games and went over 500 yards against Arkansas and Oklahoma State. With Patterson behind Kelly, the Rebels may incorporate more of their run game with Kelly earlier in the season, possibly leading to a potent offense.
Chad Kelly is by far the best quarterback in the SEC. Alone, Kelly gives the Rebels a chance to win any game they play. He’s dynamic from the quarterback position, and his arm strength is unmatchable. With a year in the system, his ability to run the offense will be even better this year. Patterson will be waiting in the wings as well, and will have the ability to sit and watch someone like Chad Kelly run the show and grasp the reigns of the offense.
Collin Brister is a staff writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.