Rebels Engram, Kelly Among 30 Candidates for Senior CLASS Award
Quarterback Chad Kelly makes a pass and tight end Evan Engram provides protection during the second half of the game against the Memphis Tigers. (photo by Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports)
Oct. 12, 2016

2016 Senior CLASS Award Candidates

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Ole Miss Rebels Evan Engram and Chad Kelly were among thirty candidates for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate football announced Wednesday.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Ole Miss is one of three schools with multiple candidates. The others are Pittsburgh and West Virginia.

Engram, who was named to the midseason watch list for the Mackey Award also on Wednesday, leads all tight ends in the country with 30 catches and 479 receiving yards this season. A three-time All-SEC selection and 2014 All-American, Engram is a two-time team captain for the Rebels. He is active in the community, showing a special heart for those with mental and physical handicaps. He has been actively involved with Special Olympics Mississippi, the North Mississippi Regional Center and the Scott Center in Oxford. He is a two-time nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and a member of the 2015 SEC Community Service Team.

Since he took over as Ole Miss’ starting quarterback at the beginning of last season, Kelly has led the team to record-setting offensive numbers and was voted MVP of the 2016 Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Oklahoma State. He has thrown a touchdown in a school-record 18 straight games and currently ranks among the top 20 nationally in total offense, passing, pass efficiency, completion percentage and yards per attempt. Off the field, he has a grade point average above 3.0 and has twice participated in spring break mission trips to Haiti, where he has helped the villagers of Camp Marie gain access to clean water and a sustainable irrigation system for farming.

Of the 30 candidates, 18 have GPAs of 3.0 or higher with seven of those holding above a 3.5. Five are returning All-Americans, and 22 were all-conference selections in 2016. Outside of academics and athletics, all candidates have been consistently involved in community service on their campus or in their communities.

This year, the Senior CLASS Award also will honor deceased Nebraska student-athlete Sam Foltz by making him an honorary candidate. The 2015 Big Ten Punter of the Year and a preseason candidate for the Ray Guy Award, Foltz was killed in an automobile accident on July 23, 2016, after attending a kicking camp in Wisconsin.

To determine the final Senior CLASS Award winner, the 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. Along with the winner, the 10 finalists will be awarded Senior CLASS Award first- or second-team honors.

The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the football bowl season in early January. For more information on the candidates, visit

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