John Kelly has been the Vols’ most dangerous weapon on offense this season. Kelly has the rare ability to not only break tackles when a defender tries to take him down, but he can also just make a defender completely whiff on a play as well.
And according to Pro Football Focus, Kelly is one of the most elusive running backs in the entire SEC.
Pro Football Focus has devised an “elusive rating” for running backs at the collegiate level. According to them, this score “boils down a runner’s success beyond the point of being helped by his blockers.” They also note that this score is different than the running back’s “missed tackles forced” number.
Using this metric, John Kelly is rated as the fourth-most elusive running back in the entire conference.
Kelly’s elusive rating is a 111.4 according to Pro Football Focus. Only Alabama’s Damien Harris (148.4), Florida’s Malik Davis (119.6), and Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill (116.9) have a higher rating. And Kelly is one of only four SEC backs with a rating in the 100s.
On the season, John Kelly has totaled 552 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 113 carries. He’s also brought in 24 receptions for 250 yards. Kelly leads the Vols in rushing yards and receptions and is just 10 receiving yards away from leading the team in that category too. Wide receiver Brandon Johnson leads the Vols with 259 receiving yards on 21 catches.
Kelly is currently on pace to run for 1,104 yards in the regular season while also hauling in 500 receiving yards. That would give Kelly 1,604 all-purpose yards during the season, and that would be the 7th-best mark in Tennessee history for a single-season.