Bo Wallace

CFT 2015 Preseason Preview: Key Transfers

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Recruiting is what builds a college football program. Transfers are what patches holes still left to address. It seems as though the transfer game in recruiting has picked up notoriety in recent years, and this past offseason may have been one of the biggest.

This season two programs look to replace Heisman Trophy winners with potential Heisman candidates, while also keeping playoff plans on the table. Other playoff and conference title contenders look to add some key additions as well thanks to the transfer process. Here are some of the more notable transfers taking the field with new teams this fall.

EVERETT GOLSON, QB, FLORIDA STATE
Perhaps the most notable of the offseason transfers saw former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson leave the Irish for Florida State. Golson is expected to replace former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. The addition of Golson helps keep Florida State in the running for another ACC title despite filling plenty of starting jobs from a season ago. Golson ran into some trouble with consistency last season but will now be surrounded by plenty of talent and athleticism, and the chance to redeem himself and put another team in the national title hunt will be one worth relishing.

VERNON ADAMS, QB, OREGON
Golson is not the only transfer replacing a former Heisman Trophy winner. Vernon Adams is making the jump from FCS power Eastern Washington to perennial Pac-12 and national title contender Oregon, vying to replace Marcus Mariota. Adams should fit well in Oregon’s system, assuming he wins the starting job in Eugene. Twice a finalist for the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Payton Award, Adams already has a terrific resume. Now he looks for quite the storybook ending.

DEVONTE FIELDS, DE, LOUISVILLE
The former Big 12 freshman defensive player of the year is finally back on the FBS playing field. Now at Louisville, Devonte Fields has a chance to bring havoc in the trenches to opposing ACC offensive linemen and quarterbacks. The former TCU Horned Frog should play a huge role on Louisville’s defensive line. But Fields is not the only player looking to embrace a second chance on the Cardinals defense…

JOSH HARVEY-CLEMONS, S, LOUISVILLE
Former Georgia Bulldog safety Josh Harvey-Clemons landed in the Louisville nest last season but had to sit out the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Now he is eligible to play and leave an impact on what could be a very good Louisville defense. Harvey-Clemons was often among the best players on the field when he played at Georgia, and that could be the case once again at Louisville if he has not lost a step in his year away from the field.

ALVIN KAMARA, RB, TENNESSEE
Former Alabama running back Alvin Kamara is back in the SEC after a year of junior college. Kamara was one of the top junior college transfers this past year, continuing an impressive recruiting trail for the Vols under Butch Jones. Kamara was a monster at the JUCO level and should be put to work out of the Tennessee backfield along with Jalen Hurd.

CHAD KELLY, QB, OLE MISS
Ole Miss does not have many holes to fill this season with a ton of starters returning, but quarterback is one of them. Fortunately, replacing Bo Wallace should be fairly easy with former Clemson quarterback Chad Kelly in the mix. Kelly is one of many notable players seeking to take advantage of a second chance at the FBS level after being dismissed by Clemson last year. Kelly will have to stay in the good graces of head coach Hugh Freeze to hold down the starting job, but he should manage to come away with the job entering the 2015 season.

JOVON ROBINSON, RB, AUBURN
Auburn’s offense is expected to light up that giant new scoreboard in Jordan-Hare Stadium this season, and the top JUCO transfer Jovon Robinson could be a big part of the reason why. The former Army All-American dominated at Georgia Military Institute and should make for a powerful combo with running back Roc Thomas and quarterback Jeremy Johnson in Auburn’s backfield. Auburn also solidifies some holes in the defensive secondary with the additions of Michigan graduate transfer Blake Countess and former Georgia safety Tray Matthews.

MARQUAVIUS LEWIS, DE, SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina may not have another Jadeveon Clowney on its hands, but Marquavius Lewis is already earning a solid reputation with the Gamecocks. Lewis was named South Carolina’s defensive player of the spring and should help improve what was a weak area of concern for Steve Spurrier last season. The Gamecocks need help on the defensive line and the addition of Lewis could provide it as one fo the top JUCO transfers in the nation.

BAKER MAYFIELD, QB, OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma hired Lincoln Riley to be the new offensive coordinator, which means the Sooners are looking to open things up offensively through the air. Having a quarterback suited well in that offensive mindset is key, and Baker Mayfield may be the best option in Norman. A former Texas Tech walk-on, Mayfield showed glimpses of what he can do with the Red Raiders. Now the Sooners will hope he can take it to the next level. Mayfield will have to win the job from incumbent Trevor Knight, but that may not be too far-fetched of a goal.

Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly completes court-ordered community service

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Chad Kelly‘s long journey out of Hugh Freeze‘s Ole Miss doghouse has taken another step in the right direction.

Monday morning, the Associated Press writes, a Buffalo judge “agreed… that Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly has met the community service and other conditions of a plea agreement reached after he was arrested for fighting with bouncers outside a Buffalo nightclub.” Kelly accepted a plea deal in early January that included 50 hours of community service and undergoing a drug and alcohol evaluation.

“This case is over,” Kelly’s attorney, Thomas Eoannou, said after the appearance. “It is behind him as of right now and he’s looking forward to playing football.”

In December, shortly after signing with the Rebels from the JUCO ranks, Kelly was arrested on a whopping seven misdemeanor charges following an incident that began with him fighting with bouncers inside of a Buffalo bar and ended with him fighting with police.  While Kelly’s attorney claimed his client was merely defending himself inside the bar, no explanation was given for Kelly’s actions after he and a friend were pulled over by police a short time later.

That incident was the latest in a very bad year for the signal caller.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced April 14 of last year that Kelly, the nephew of former Miami Hurricane and NFL great Jim Kelly, had been dismissed from the team for “conduct detrimental to our program.” Kelly, benched following a couple of interceptions, verbally sparred with assistant coaches during the spring game, which triggered the dismissal.  He spent the 2014 season at the JUCO level before signing with Ole Miss earlier this month and having his brush with the law.

Kelly, though, is part of a group of Ole Miss football players who are joining Freeze on a humanitarian trip to Haiti later this month, so the thaw in the relationship had already commenced prior to today’s development.

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2012 recruiting class, Kelly was rated as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New York.  Kelly will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2015 and, because of Bo Wallace’s expired eligibility, will be expected to compete for the Rebels’ starting job

Ole Miss QB hopeful Chad Kelly to join Hugh Freeze on Haiti trip

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Ole Miss opened spring practice on Tuesday looking to find a replacement for two-year starter Bo Wallace at quarterback. Among the three signal callers vying for the job is Chad Kelly, a Clemson transfer by way of East Mississippi Community College with a – to put it lightly – a checkered past.

Kelly’s temper is the only reason he’s at Ole Miss in the first place, and that trait nearly cost him his scholarship before he even arrived in Oxford. Arrested in December after a standard-issue bar fight morphed into a scuffle with police, head coach Hugh Freeze hasn’t taken action on his new quarterback.

But Freeze revealed Tuesday he’s bringing Kelly along for the now-annual Ole Miss football Haiti trip, which departs later this month. A group of 30 people with ties to the Rebels program work to provide access to fresh water in the third-world Caribbean nation, and Freeze has used it as a mentoring opportunity of sorts. Former linebacker Serderius Bryant joined the excursion last year under similar circumstances.

“The responsibility that comes with that position, it never stops. It’s 24 hours a day,” Freeze told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “He knows that. I share with him every single day insight that I see and how he can improve himself in that regard. … I look forward to spending time with him there (in Haiti later this month), in an environment that challenges leadership skills and even helps develop them.”

Hey Coach, whose idea was this?

Ok, then.

Freeze: no update on Chad Kelly’s status at Ole Miss

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For those looking for, one way or the other, a resolution of the Chad Kelly situation at Ole Miss, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer.

In a text message to the Tupelo Daily Journal‘s Parrish Alford, head coach Hugh Freeze said he has not yet made a determination on the quarterback’s future with the football program.  Freeze stated that he planned to speak, via phone, with Kelly’s parents Tuesday night, then “take a couple of days and make a decision based on everything.”

Early last month, Kelly was arrested on a whopping seven misdemeanor charges following an incident that began with him fighting with bouncers inside of a Buffalo bar and ended with him fighting with police.  While Kelly’s attorney claimed his client was merely defending himself inside the bar, no explanation was given for Kelly’s actions after he and a friend were pulled over by police a short time later.

Monday, Kelly pleaded guilty to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct during a Buffalo County court appearance.  This was, though, not Kelly’s first brush with controversy, which is likely why Freeze is being so deliberate in his approach.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced April 14 that Kelly, the nephew of former Miami Hurricane and NFL great Jim Kelly, had been dismissed from the team for “conduct detrimental to our program.” Kelly, benched following a couple of interceptions, verbally sparred with assistant coaches during the spring game, which triggered the dismissal.  He spent the 2014 season at the JUCO level before signing with Ole Miss earlier this month.

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2012 recruiting class, Kelly was rated as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New York.  Kelly will have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2015 and, because of Bo Wallace’s departure, will be expected to compete for the Rebels’ starting job… provided he’s still a Rebel come summer camp, of course.

Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly accepts plea deal, hopes to keep scholarship

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Ole Miss quarterback signee Chad Kelly appeared in court Monday after a December arrest in his home town of Buffalo following an incident where he allegedly participated in a bar fight and then fought with law enforcement from the time of his arrest all the way down to the booking station. He was charged with seven separate misdemeanors or violations.

According to the Associated Press, Kelly pleaded guilty to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct and submitted himself to 50 hours of community service. He also wrote a letter of apology to the Buffalo Police Department.

“His conduct could have been more mature,” Kelly’s attorney, Thomas Eoannou, said in court.

With that out of the way, the next question becomes whether or not Kelly will keep his scholarship in Oxford. A junior college transfer from East Mississippi Community College, Kelly’s arrest came just days after signing his papers with Ole Miss.

Head coach Hugh Freeze said days after the arrest that he would decide Kelly’s future following his day in court. “I’m just gathering all the facts from his side, the other sides and just waiting to see what the court date holds and what comes from that,” Freeze said at the time. “Then we’ll make a decision.”

Kelly’s attorney said he “should be fine” in that respect. “My assessment is he’s a good kid. He’s highly competitive. He’s highly emotional, and he needs to learn to shut that off when he’s not on the football field.”

Kelly is permitted to conduct his community service in Mississippi. He must also undergo a court-ordered evaluation to see if drug or alcohol counseling is necessary.

Kelly, who originally signed with Clemson out of high school, led EMCC to a national championship this fall after throwing for 3,905 yards and 47 touchdowns. The Rebels will be in search of a new starting quarterback following the departure of Bo Wallace.