After speculation that Joshua Kelley would be testing the waters of the NFL Draft, it was confirmed today that the soon-to-be redshirt senior would return for his final season of eligibility.
Take a deep breathe UCLA football fans, Joshua Kelley is coming back next year. Last week, it was reported that the Bruins’ leading rusher from 2018 was toying with the idea of putting his name into the NFL Draft.
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Today, that idea has evaporated into thin air as it has been reported that the Slayer of Trojans will be back for his senior season.
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In Chip Kelly‘s first year as the head of the program, it took some time for the different parts of the offense to come together, which included Kelley’s role in the running game. Though he started the season as the #1 back with Bolu Olorunfunmi, he eventually broke out as the premier RB.
Starting with the fourth game of the season at Colorado, Kelley was able to collect six 100-yard rushing games. The pinnacle of that came in the second to last game of the season as he ran for a record 289 yards against USC which helped the Bruins to beat the Trojans, 34-27.
For the season, Kelley ran for 1,243 yards, which is the first time any Bruin has ran for over 1,000 in a season since Paul Perkins ran for 1,343 in 2015.
So you can see why Bruins fans would have been upset if he was to forego his final season of eligibility. Instead, the Bruins can revel in the fact that they have their top rusher returning for Phase Two of the Chip Kelly experiment.
Not only will the speedster lead the offense, but he will have help from a few younger players like Kazmeir Allen, Martell Irby, Jahmon McClendon, and Keegan Jones. That should make things very interesting next season.
With the Bruins’ offense improving as the 2018 season went on, you can guarantee that it will take another step forward in 2019 with UCLA’s top RB returning. Welcome back, Kelley!