Ole Miss

Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly named to Johnny Unitas Watch List

Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly is commanding plenty of attention this preseason.
Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly is commanding plenty of attention this preseason. ttisbell@sunherald.com File

Ole Miss senior Chad Kelly has been named to the watch list for the 2016 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award®, announced by the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation, Inc., on Thursday.

Named after one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and established in 1987, this prestigious award is presented annually at the end of each season to the nation’s top college quarterback based on character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership qualities and athletic accomplishments. Candidates must be a college senior or fourth-year junior on schedule to graduate with their class.

The Buffalo, New York, native’s play last season caught the eye of many, as he has been named first team All-SEC by the league media as well as selected to the Water Camp, Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Award watch lists this preseason.

Last year, Kelly broke 14 single-season school records, including total offense (4,542 yards), completion percentage (65.1), passing efficiency (155.9), 300-yard passing games (8) and touchdowns responsible for (41). His offensive output was the third-highest in Southeastern Conference history, behind only the 2012 and 2013 seasons by Johnny Manziel. Completing 298 passes for 4,042 yards and 31 touchdowns, all program bests, Kelly became the third SEC quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season.

Past standout winners of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award® include: Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997); Carson Palmer (USC, 2002); Eli Manning (Ole Miss, 2003); Brady Quinn (Notre Dame, 2006); Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007); Colt McCoy (Texas, 2009); Andrew Luck (Stanford, 2011); Marcus Mariota (University of Oregon, 2014) and last year’s winner, Connor Cook (Michigan State, 2015).

The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award® will be presented at a ceremony on Dec. 9 in Baltimore.