Honor & Awards

  • Nebraska Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2017)
  • Drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers (1999 - 7th Round, Pick #219)
  • University of Nebraska Graduate (May, 1999)
  • Member of Two Nebraska National Championship Teams (1995, 1997)
  • Brook Berringer Citizenship Team Member (1998)
  • First-Team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American (1998)
  • Co-Captain (1998)
  • Second-Team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American (1997)
  • Two-Time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District VII (1997, 1998)
  • Three-Time First-Team Academic All-Big 12 (1996, 1997, 1998)
  • First-Team All-Big 12 (Kansas City Star, 1998)
  • Second-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, AP, Austin AS, 1998)
  • Third-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, 1997)
  • Nominee for Big 12 Defensive Player-of-the-Week (vs. Iowa State, 1997)
  • Nebraska Lifter-of-the-Year (1998)


Chad Kelsay appeared in 46 games throughout his collegiate career (starting 22). He finished with 149 tackles (69 solo), 27 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, seven pass breakups, one interception and 38 quarterback hurries which caused two interceptions. For his efforts, Kelsay was selected in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He'd spend the next year in Pittsburgh (1999) before playing one final year for the St. Louis Rams in 2000.

1998 (Senior)

After sharing the left rush end position with Mike Rucker the previous year, Kelsay stayed on the left side as Rucker moved to the right to replace the departed All-American and Lombardi winner Grant Wistrom. Together the pair gave Nebraska two of the best rush ends in the country. Kelsay, one of the team captains, started all 12 games and finished as Nebraska's third leading tackler with 72 tackles (33 solo) on the year. He also had 14 tackles resulting in 52 yards lost, five sacks totaling 39 yards, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, four pass breakups, one interception against Washington and 13 quarterback hurries. Kelsey followed up a 10 tackle day (three solo) against Oklahoma State with a career-high 11 tackles (five solo) against Texas A&M. Kelsey started the 1998 Holiday Bowl against Arizona and finished with four tackles (three solo) and a tackle for minus-15 yards. He was the Nebraska Lifter-of-the-Year and a three-time academic all-conference winner.

1997 (Junior)

Kelsay finished as Nebraska's 10th-leading tackler and started every game except the first game against Akron, the Big 12 Championship game against Texas A&M and the 1998 Orange Bowl against Tennessee. He and Mike Rucker combined at left rush, opposite Lombardi winner Grant Wistrom. Kelsay had 34 tackles (13 solo), three sacks for 29 yards lost, seven tackles for 40 yards lost, one fumble recovery and a five-yard fumble return against Iowa State. He also forced two fumbles; one against Baylor and one against Iowa State. Kelsey recorded 14 quarterback hurries to rank fourth on the team. His sacks came against Washington (seven yards), Iowa State (13 yards) and Texas A&M (nine yards) in the Big 12 Championship game. Kelsey had a season-best four tackles five times, including each of the first three games. In the 1998 Orange Bowl against Tennessee, Kelsay had one assisted tackle.

1996 (Sophomore)

Kelsay served as All-American Jared Tomich's backup at left rush end. Kelsay played in every game except Iowa State, which he sat out with a knee strain. He recorded 23 tackles, including 10 solo stops. He had three tackles for 15 yards lost, 2.5 sacks for 15 yards lost (1-5 against Michigan State, 1-7 against Arizona State and 0.5-3 against Baylor) one fumble recovery (against Oklahoma) and one forced fumble. Kelsay had a season-best four tackles at Arizona State. In the 1996 Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech, Kelsay had one solo tackle, which was for a one-yard loss.

1995 (Freshman)

Kelsay was one of three scholarship freshman from the 1995 class who contributed immediately to the Huskers' perfect season. Kelsay played in all 12 games and recorded 20 tackles (13 solo), including three for 13 yards in losses. He broke up three passes, including a shovel pass against Missouri, which teammate and fellow rush end Luther Hardin intercepted and ran in for a three-yard score. He also had a season-high two sacks against the Tigers. Kelsay had a season-best five tackles against Michigan State. In the 1996 Fiesta Bowl against Florida, he had one quarterback hurry.

Auburn High School

Kelsay was a Bluechip Illustrated All-America linebacker and also played tailback at Auburn High. Kelsay was named a first-team All-Nebraska linebacker by the Omaha World Herald and a first-team Super-State linebacker by the Lincoln Journal Star after making 100 tackles as a senior. Kelsay made 15 stops behind the line of scrimmage, had one fumble recovery, and forced four fumbles, had one blocked punt and three interceptions. He also rushed for 931 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 14 passes for 235 yards and four touchdowns from the from the tailback spot as a senior. His best game was 230 yards rushing against Plattsmouth. Kelsay also handled PATs and kicked two 43-yard field goals in 1994. Kelsay finished fifth in the Class C triple jump in 1994, played forward for his basketball team (averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds) and was a member of the National Honor Society posting a 4.0 GPA. Just the second Division I scholarship player to come out of Auburn, Kelsay followed All-Big Six FB Dick Hutton (1946-48) to Nebraska.


The son of Steve and Jackie Kelsay, Chad was born April 9, 1977, in Auburn, NE. Chad majored in finance and earned his bachelor's degree from Nebraska in May of 1999. He graduated in May of 1999 with a degree in finance. His younger brother Chris joined the team as a scholarship freshman that same year. Kelsay was a volunteer speaker with the Lincoln Public Schools and volunteers at the Peoples City Mission. He assisted with American Education Week and National Student-Athlete Day. He was a Dedicated to Excellence Speaker and was named to the 1998 Brook Berringer Citizenship Team.

Kelsay's Career Statistics

. . Tackles . . Fum. . . . QB Int.
 Year G/S UT AT TT TFL Sacks C-R BK PBU PI Hry. Csd.
 1995 11/0 13 7 20 3-13 2-12 0-0 0 3 0 5 0
 1996 11/0 10 13 23 3-15 2.5-15 1-1 0 0 0 6 2
 1997 12/10 13 21 34 7-40 3-29 2-1 0 0 0 14 0
 1998 12/12 33 39 72 14-52 5-39 2-1 0 4 1 13 0
Totals 46/22 69 80 149 27-120 12.5-95 5-3 0 7 *1 38 2

*Interception: 1-0 vs. Washington, 1998
Fumble Return: 1-5 vs. Iowa State, 1997

Bowl Stats

1996 Fiesta Bowl vs. Florida: Tackles, None; QB Hurries 1
1996 Orange Bowl vs. Virginia Tech: Tackles 1 UT, 0 AT, 1 TT; TFL 1-1; QB Hurries 1
1998 Orange Bowl vs. Tennessee: Tackles 0 UT, 1 AT, 1 TT
1998 Holiday Bowl vs. Arizona: Tackles 3 UT, 1 AT, 4 TT; TFL 1-15