Teurlings Catholic junior quarterback Cole Kelley committed to Arkansas on Saturday after visiting the campus this weekend.
Kelley is a three-star pocket passer, according to 247sports.com and also had offers from Colorado State, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss and Tulane.
“My mom and I went up this weekend, and I didn’t really plan on committing or anything,” Kelley said. “But it was just such a great experience that I decided to get it out of the way.”
Kelley, 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, threw for 2,984 yards, 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions during his junior season while completing 60 percent of his passes.
Kelley said the tradition of the Arkansas program, and coach Bret Bielema’s track record of success drew him to the program.
“The tradition and the talent they have in the program,” Kelley said. “Coach (Bielema) has a very good track record, and the people around the area were really nice. Just a bunch of good people.”
While on the visit, Kelley said he was impressed with the Arkansas campus and how he was treated.
“They treat you well and make you feel special. They let you know how much they want you,” Kelley said. “Coach (Bielema) is very good at what he does and knows how to recruit some people.”
After suffering through a difficult 3-9 season in Bielema’s first year at the helm, the Razorbacks bounced back and were competitive in a difficult Southeastern Conference West division last season, beating LSU and Ole Miss during league play and winning their bowl game against Texas.
Kelley said he bought into Bielema’s vision for the program and is excited to see what the Razorbacks can do next season.
“I see what he’s doing with the program, and Arkansas is really on the upswing,” Kelley said. “I think they are going to be a force to reckoned with next year in the SEC.”
With last season’s starter, Brandon Allen, entering his senior season with the Razorbacks, Kelley has a chance to compete for playing time once he joins the program, but said that wasn’t a major influence in his decision.
“Coach (Bielema) said they try to bring in a quarterback every recruiting class, so you have a chance to work for the job,” Kelley said. “But I don’t really look at early playing time as much as other people do because you’re going to have competition everywhere.”