By: Tony Thomas Southeastern Louisiana QB Cole Kelley wins the 2020 Walter Payton Award, the FCS Heisman, as the outstanding offensive player in the FCS. He is the first player from Southeastern Louisiana to win the award.
QB Cole Kelley at Southeastern LA.
The 6-7, 230-pound transfer from Arkansas threw for 2662 yards and accounted for 27 touchdowns: 18 passing, seven rushing touchdowns, and two receiving TDs. He was #2 in the FCS in passing. He led the Lions to a 4-3 record in the shortened spring season.
Kelley was also named the Southland Conference Player of the Year for the Spring, as well as an FCS All-American by the AP and STATS.
He threw for over 300 yards in every game:
- 462 yards, 4 TDs vs Sam Houston
- 301 yards, 1 TD vs McNeese State
- 338 yards, 1 TD vs Northwestern La. St.
- 431 yards, 3 TDs passing, 1 INT, 1 rushing TD vs Incarnate World
- 321 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 2 rushing TDs
- 418 yards, 5 total TDs vs S. Illinois
Kelley was also named Offensive Player of the Year and 1st Team All-Louisiana by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA).
Kelley played at Arkansas in 2017 and 2018. He redshirted in 2016. In 2017, Kelley passed for 1038 yards, eight passing touchdowns, and four INTs. He also added 2 touchdowns on the ground.
In 2018, Kelley played in 9 games and started in two. He passed for 455 yards and 5 touchdowns and added three rushing touchdowns.
Teurlings Catholic Product
In 2014, Kelley passed for 2980 yards and 27 TDs and INTs on his way to a spot on the District 5-4A All-District 1st Team. He passed for over 300 yards four times.
Kelley posted six games with 3 or more passing touchdowns, including six in a 65-35 win over Northside.
As a senior in 2015, Kelley passed for 3203 yards, 28 touchdowns and 12 INTs. He also added 286 yards rushing and 8 scores. Kelley was named as Honorable Mention 4A All-State and 1st team All-Acadian.
He chose Arkansas over:
- Colorado State
- La. Tech
- Oklahoma State
- Southern Miss
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