The LA Chargers selected a local star from UCLA to bolster the running back room. Get to know former Bruin and now Charger Joshua Kelley.
Joshua Kelley was born in Inglewood, CA, where SoFi Stadium is currently under construction. He went to high school in Lancaster, Los Angeles County and then went to college at UCLA in Pasadena, CA. So it is no surprise to see Kelley react with such enthusiasm when his number was called by the LA Chargers and he was told he’s staying in Los Angeles.
Before playing for UCLA, he played two seasons at UC Davis, before committing himself to play at the highest level of football. That prompted him to join the Bruins as a walk-on, but eventually, his talent stood out and he earned the starting job.
He had two back-to-back 1,000 rushing yards seasons at UCLA, also scoring 12 touchdowns each year on the ground, plus a receiving touchdown in 2019. The highlight of his successful college career was a dominant 289-yard game against the Bruins’ rivals, the USC Trojans, a performance that won’t be forgotten anytime soon by Angelenos.
The team needed a big running back to complement Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, who are both on the smaller side of the running back spectrum. They got exactly that in 5’11”, 219 lb Kelley.
Kelley is a bruiser and has a punishing running style that helped him have a successful two-year career for the Bruins. He is difficult to bring down upon first contact and will add a different kind of threat in the backfield for the Chargers.
Tom Telesco shared some things that he likes about Kelley.
Kelley managed to earn multiple accolades in his two-year career in Pasadena. In 2018, he was a First Team All-Pac-12 selection, as well as being named the Bruins’ most valuable player. In 2019, he was again a First Team All-Pac-12 and Bruins’ most valuable player. He was also a semifinalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, losing out to newly drafted Minnesota Viking Kenny Willekes.
Kelley will feel right at home, both on and off the field. He will get to stay in the place he has lived all his life, and also will join a new offense in which his skillset will be very useful.
He has everything to succeed and become a fan favorite, but has a solid floor as a rotational running back for the Chargers with the ability to earn more touches. He will be one of the most instant contributors to the newest LA Chargers draft class.