FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas strong safety Randy Kelly has been selected as the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against No. 22 Alabama it was announced by the league office on Monday.
Kelly racked up a career-high 16 tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown in the Razorbacks’ 24-23 double-overtime upset of the Crimson Tide. The Palmetto, Fla., native scooped up a fumble caused by teammate Antwain Robinson and raced 39 yards for a touchdown to give Arkansas the lead in the third quarter. It was the first turnover of the season for the Razorback defense and the second career touchdown for Kelly after returning an interception for a score last season at Ole Miss.
“Randy was banged up a little bit, but he still played extremely physical,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “He has been a total team player for us and willing to fill whatever role we have for him. We knew that he would be a key in this game and he stepped up in a big way. I’m proud of Randy and the entire defense for their efforts against Alabama.”
In addition, Kelly earned 1.5 tackles for loss (-8), a half-sack (-5), one quarterback hurry and one pass break up. Ten of his 16 tackles were solo stops with thee of those tackles coming in overtime. The 16 tackles marked the second double-digit tackle game of his career after he made 10 tackles last season against South Carolina.
Kelly becomes the first Razorback defender to win SEC defensive player of the week honors since Tony Bua was recognized in 2003 for his efforts against South Carolina.