FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – When Chad Morris was hired as the Arkansas football coach, he said every position was up for grabs and he has kept his word.
With the start of his first season just days away, Morris and the Razorbacks waited until game week to announce their starting quarterback but it will be Cole Kelley who takes the field with the starting offense on Saturday against Eastern Illinois. Kelley gets the nod over junior Ty Storey.
Sources close to the situation say Kelley will play the first three series of Saturday’s game then Storey will enter the game for the Razorbacks’ fourth offensive possession.
Morris, along with offensive coordinator Joe Craddock, have been preaching consistency since the start of spring practice and both have stated that neither was able to distance themselves in the race for the starting job prior to the final week of the preseason. Both Kelley and Storey split reps 50/50 according the Arkansas coaching staff.
Cole Kelley appears in nine games in the 2017 season, starting four while Austin Allen was out with an injury, and saw mixed results. The 6-foot-7, Louisiana native completed 87-of-151 passes (57 percent) for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns with four interceptions. Kelley added 74 yards and two touchdowns rushing in what the previous coaching staff called the ‘Steamboat’ package.
Ty Storey has seen very limited time in his time with the Razorbacks as he did not attempt a pass in 2017 and appeared in just two contests. For his career, Storey is 1-of-4 passing for three yards. A Charleston native, Storey was a consensus four-star recruit after he led the Tigers to back-to-back 3A undefeated seasons and two state championships. In high school, he threw for 12,856 yards (third most in state history) with 154 touchdowns (second most in state history).
Both Kelley and Storey are expected to play against the Panthers on Saturday and it shouldn’t be a shock to see any or all three freshmen in the game. That trio consists of redshirt freshman Daulton Hyatt and true freshmen Connor Noland and John Stephen Jones.