Draft Prospect Outlook:
Balanced, bounce-off-tackles air back with a hard-nosed running style and a good deal of experience as a receiver. Think Alvin Kamara Lite. Not as explosive or fast as Kamara but similar players.
Kelly was an unheralded three-star recruit out of the Detroit area that some programs were recruiting as a defensive back. He chose Tennessee over both in-state Big Ten schools despite the presence of Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara in the Vols' backfield. Kelly's role was limited to mop-up duty as a freshman in 2015, but Tennessee's coaching staff always insisted he was ready to deliver should he get an opportunity. Sure enough, Kelly was ready and did deliver when Hurd missed the Texas A&M game in October. In the first significant action of his career, Kelly ran for 89 yards and a touchdown, and after Kamara missed a couple of games and Hurd left the team, he wound up leading Tennessee's backfield in rushing with 630 yards in 2016.
Hurd transferring to Baylor and Kamara bouncing to the NFL left Kelly as Tennessee's feature back entering the 2017 season, and he got off to a blazing start. He ran for 128 yards and four touchdowns in the season opener against Georgia Tech and dragged the Vols back from 10-point deficits twice with 237 total yards in the loss at Florida. However, after rushing for 101 yards the following week against UMass, Kelly's production dipped as Tennessee's inept offense went into the tank and he failed to top 80 yards the rest of the season. He also was suspended for a game after he was cited for misdemeanor drug possession during a traffic stop in October. After leading the SEC rushing in September, he finished 11th in the conference with 70.7 yards per game. Though not the biggest back, Kelly's relentlessly tough running style makes him tough to tackle, and he's a well-rounded back who's a receiving threat and reliable pass protector. - Patrick Brown, GoVols247