- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Three Mississippi quarterbacks - including junior college transfer Chad Kelly - have started their competition to see who will replace three-year starter Bo Wallace.

The Rebels began spring practice on Tuesday, hoping to build on a 9-4 record last season. Ole Miss expects to have 16 starters returning next fall, but must find a replacement for Wallace, who finished his career among the school’s leaders in virtually every passing category.

Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan are sophomores who have been with the program two seasons. Both received limited playing time last season: Kincade completed 16 of 20 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown while Buchanan was 12 of 22 passing for 75 yards and an interception.

But much of the focus will be on Kelly - a 6-foot-3 junior who is the nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. Freeze said it’s doubtful the quarterback race will be finished by the end of spring practice.

“It’s going to be a very competitive three-man deal,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. “… There will be a constant rotation and everyone will get equal repetitions with the (starters) and (backups). The main thing you want to see is who can handle hard coaching and who can understand what we’re trying to accomplish with what we have called.”

Kelly’s chance to resurrect his career almost didn’t happen after an arrest following a fight at a Buffalo, New York, nightclub in December - just days after he signed with the Rebels. He eventually pleaded guilty to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct.

That hasn’t been his only brush with trouble.

He was kicked off of Clemson’s team in April 2014 following an argument with the coaching staff during the spring game. Tigers’ coach Dabo Swinney said then that Kelly exhibited a “pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program.”

From there, Kelly went to East Mississippi Community College, where he led the program to a NJCAA national title and was named first team All-America after throwing for 3,906 yards and 47 touchdowns.

Now he’s with the Rebels. Freeze has made it no secret that Kelly is under close watch.

Freeze also said that Kelly will go to Haiti with part of the football team over the school’s spring break to participate in a mission trip.

“The responsibility that comes with (quarterback) - it never stops and it is 24 hours a day,” Freeze said. “He knows that. I share with him every single day insight that I see where he can improve himself in that regard.”

Freeze also said star receiver Laquon Treadwell will go through spring drills after breaking his left leg and dislocating his ankle barely four months ago. The 6-foot-2 Treadwell was the Rebels’ leading receiver last season - catching 48 passes for 632 yards and five touchdowns - despite missing four games after the injury.

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Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

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