Lafayette, La., Tuerlings Catholic junior quarterback Cole Kelley (6-7, 240) is well aware of former Arkansas signal caller Ryan Mallett is, but it may not be for the reason you are thinking.
Kelly, a 2016 prospect who arrived in Fayetteville early Friday afternoon to begin his unofficial visit, knows the virtual video game Mallett (6-7, 245), who is now with the NFL’s Houston Texans, more than the real one.
“I was still pretty young when he was playing college football so I didn’t get to watch him a lot, but I played with him a lot on the NCAA (video game) because I knew I was going to be a big guy like him,” Kelley said.
Kelley was 198-of-368 passing last season for 3,001 while tossing 31 touchdowns and having nine passes intercepted while leading his team to a 9-2 mark.
“We had a great season, but just didn’t go as far as we wanted to in the playoffs,” Kelley said. “We lost to (Metairie) Rummel and the kid (defensive lineman Briston Guidry) that just committed to Arkansas.
“He (Guidry) is an absolute beast. That was one of the hardest licks I took all year when he caught me.”
Kelley, unranked as yet by Scout.com, is regarded as a three-star prospect by a couple of recruiting services.
“I think my strengths are my leadership, my intelligence and my arm strength,” Kelley said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I am not that fast, but I am trying to work on my overall quickness and just getting better with my feet.
“I can see strides from that already during this off-season.”
He has nine offers so far – including ones from Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Colorado State, Tulane, Southern Mississippi, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette.
There are two schools that stand above the rest at this point.
“Definitely Arkansas and Oklahoma State are the top two out of the schools that have offered me so far,” Kelley said. “Under that would probably be UL (Louisiana-Lafayette), Colorado State and Kentucky.”
Kelley has grown up an LSU fan and the Tigers’ staff has shown interest.
“I think that LSU might end up offering,” Kelley said. “I grew up an LSU fan, but that is not really going to affect my decision.
“I don’t necessarily like what they do offensively and the fact that I was a fan growing up will not really influence my decision.”
Kelley said he and Arkansas offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Enos message almost daily on Twitter.
He has noticed how Razorback head coach Bret Bielema has the trajectory of the program headed back up.
“I absolutely admire what he is doing,” Kelley said. “Arkansas used to be one of the top programs in the SEC and they took a hard fall.
“But he came in and turned it back around and they are head back up. It doesn’t take much to realize what he is doing and how great a coach he is and how much he knows about football.
“He has built it back from the ground up and that is admirable.”
Kelley, who averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds this season while playing basketball, is a proponent of focusing on the interior lines.
“I love the fact that his biggest emphasis is the offensive and defensive lines,” Kelley said. “That is the biggest key to winning football games to me.
“I have always like Arkansas and what they do and that is that they beat people up physically. I like that as a quarterback because I am a competitor.”
Kelley hasn’t set a timetable for himself in terms of making a decision.
“I don’t want to be one of these guys that commits and then de-commits,” Kelley said. “I want to be sure. I want to do whatever is in my heart and I do want to try and get it right the first time.
“So I don’t really have a timetable. I might get up to Arkansas and it might hit me that I love this place and never want to leave and I might commit right after I leave there.
“But I also might commit during the middle of a season. It is something that I am just not really focusing on.”
Kelley Visiting Arkansas This Weekend
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