Kelley was born and raised in the 9th Ward district of New Orleans, until he and his parents lost their home as a result of Hurricane Katrina’s effect on the city in August 2005.
Two-year letterman at O. Perry Walker for coach Emanuel Powell, rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com while garnering two-star recognition from Scout.com and ESPN.com. For his high school career, ran 404 times for 2,347 yards (5.8 avg.) and 25 touchdowns, hauled in 28 passes for 242 yards (8.6 avg.) and three touchdowns. Named first-team All-District 10-4A as a junior and senior.
He went on to enroll at Tulane University, where he was a three-year letterman has rushed 253 times for 1,038 yards (4.1 avg) and five touchdowns, caught 80 passes for 694 yards (8.7 avg) and five scores, returned 67 kickoffs for 1,370 yards (20.4 avg) and posted nine tackles.
Kelley’s “Fat Rob” nickname originated during his senior year at Tulane, after his running backs coach bought him a backpack with the nickname ingrained on it.