Cole Kelley

Sophomore QB Cole Kelley runs on the field before kickoff against North Texas on Sept. 15. Kelley started four games for the Razorbacks as a freshman and split time behind center with Ty Storey this season.


Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cole Kelley announced Monday on Twitter his intentions to transfer from Arkansas for the 2019 season and joins a long list of players who have parted ways with the team since Chad Morris became head coach in December 2017.

“This was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make,” Kelley said in the tweet. “After talking with family, my friends and my coaches, I feel it is best to move on from this university. Arkansas will always hold a special place in my heart. I will always love the Razorbacks and I hope nothing but the best for my brothers in the future.”

Kelley redshirted his freshman season in 2016. He saw action during his second year in 2017 in nine games, starting in four of them when starting quarterback Austin Allen went down with a shoulder injury. He went 87-151 during that year, passing for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns with three interceptions.

This season, Kelley was the opening day starter for the Hogs against Eastern Illinois on Sept. 1. He started one more game against North Texas on Sept. 15 before being relegated to backup. He saw action in nine total games and passed for 455 yards, five touchdowns and threw five interceptions. He was used mainly by Morris as a short-yardage quarterback, rushing 28 times for 73 yards and three touchdowns.

Kelley leaves a packed quarterback group that next season might include junior Ty Storey, freshmen Connor Noland, John Stephen Jones and Daulton Hyatt, incoming freshman KJ Jefferson and former Clemson quarterback and potential transfer target Kelly Bryant, who is expected to make a decision on his school of choice for next season Dec. 4.

Sixteen Razorback players have willingly chosen to leave or transfer out of the program in the past year. Most recently before Kelley, sophomore running back Maleek Williams too announced his intention to transfer on Nov. 29.

Morris has signed 23 recruits but is expected to bring in a total of 29 next season, according to 247Sports. To finish with the total acceptable number of 85 scholarship players, seven more current players will have to go off scholarship before recruits arrive.

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