- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Maryland's quarterback of the future soon may find that job description outdated.
The only thing Chris Kelley is sure about is that he will play for the Terrapins in 2003. The current backup to Scott McBrien could be in a different position perhaps wide receiver next season. The success of McBrien and the development of freshman quarterback Joel Statham, who is redshirting this season, could give the Terps the option of shifting Kelley.
"I just want to play," said Kelley, who could make the change after the Peach Bowl. "I will sit down with coaches after the season and see what's available. I don't know what's going to happen."
The redshirt sophomore made a remarkable recovery from his third major knee operation just to be ready for this season after tearing the ACL in his right knee in the spring game and undergoing reconstructive surgery in May. He battled McBrien for the starting spot into the early part of season. However, Kelley had inconsistent practices while McBrien emerged as a solid starter.
That left Kelley as the top reserve, a role the prep All-American out of Seneca Valley High School has found difficult to accept.
"It's kind of like another season wasted," said Kelley, who missed the better part of his first two seasons while rehabilitating from the previous two knee operations. "From my point of view, that's what it is another year and I really haven't done much. For our team, it's unbelievable to have back-to-back 10-win seasons. I'll just keep plugging away at it and see what comes of it."
Kelley could become the second Maryland quarterback in two seasons to change positions after Latrez Harrison became a receiver this season.
Kelley has completed 17 of 38 passes for 171 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions, and he usually has come in when the game was decided. The 6-foot-2, 213-pounder was the front-runner to start before last spring's setback.
He spent the summer rehabbing and was cleared to practice when fall camp opened months ahead of his expected return.
Kelley redshirted his freshman season in 2000 after requiring surgery when he got hurt in a summer high school all-star game. A beach accident and subsequent operation forced him to miss all of the 2001 preseason. He returned in late September but saw action only in mop-up roles and didn't throw a pass as the third-string quarterback.
"I made it through everything," Kelley said of finally staying healthy for a full season. "I didn't even think I was going to play this year. The little time I did play is a positive."
Kelley could find himself at receiver next season or in the secondary if he decides to change positions. The quarterback plans to keep that decision on hold until after the Peach Bowl.
"I still am one play [an injury to McBrien] away from being in the game against Tennessee," Kelley said. "So I can't focus on whether I am going to play a different position or not. Once the game is over, I will definitely know more. I'm definitely going to play at Maryland. It's just a matter of where."

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide