NEW ORLEANS — If Arkansas fans weren’t already on Cloud 9, they might be once they find out about the performance of their next potential quarterback.
Cole Kelley, a 3-star prospect and the No. 37-rated player in Louisiana, led Teurlings Catholic High School to a 36-14 playoff victory despite rolling his ankle in the second quarter. Still, Kelley managed to complete 15-of-27 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns that covered 9, 7, 46 and 53 yards.
Fazed? Not really, the future Razorbacks quarterback said afterwards.
“I rolled my ankle, but I’m a big guy and I take hits, so it’s my job to be able to deal with it,” the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Kelley said.
“People make fun of quarterbacks all the time for being soft, so I’ve got to prove people wrong.”
Kelley played with a noticeable limp for the final three quarters, but refused to take himself out of the game.
“It was good,” he said of his ankle. “I probably throw off my back foot too much when I’m healthy, so it helped me out tonight.”
Kelley committed to Arkansas in April, but won’t return to Fayetteville, Ark., until after his team’s playoff run comes to an end.
The 28th-rated pro-style quarterback in the nation said his recruitment has been somewhat stale since he committed, which is only a good sign for Arkansas.
“Everyone knows I’m dead set on Arkansas,” Kelley said. “The things they do, I like it.”
Kelley has enjoyed watching the Razorbacks win four games in a row, but he isn’t surprised at all.
He said many — including himself — saw this coming for quite some time, and it’s good to see it all come together for the Razorbacks.
“Honestly, we — the Arkansas team and the people around them and I — knew this was going to be a team to be reckoned with,” Kelley said. “Their O-line is the best. The have good running backs always, and Brandon (Allen) is a helluva quarterback … The new offensive coordinator (Dan Enos) throws the ball a little more and is a little more creative with the plays, and that’s the most important thing.”