Pellerin gives Rebels another weapon at QB
Don’t ask Brent Indest, the head coach of Catholic High School in New Iberia, Louisiana, how his quarterback, Jason Pellerin, is just a three-star recruit. Ole Miss’ newest verbal pledge for the 2015 signing class stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 215 pounds.
Pellerin definitely has the size to play in the rugged Southeastern Conference and his stats – he accounted for 43 total touchdowns in 2013 – are impressive to say the least.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time on the high school side and I’ve been on the college side of coaching and all those stars are a pile of crap,” said Indest, who has been in coaching 16 years and was on Derek Dooley’s staff at Louisiana Tech. “One of the reasons Jason is probably three stars is he threw last year in the spring going into his junior year for LSU and Coach (Cam) Cameron. He had a really poor day and I think that the perception after that, it probably got out a little bit that he didn’t throw well. And we don’t run a spread style offense and having said that, he still threw for right at 2,000 yards. We do most of our stuff off play action and things like that. He’s going to end up being a 6-5, 6-6, 235 pound guy who can run 4.6.”
Indest, who installed a Wing-T/shotgun/fly sweep system on offense, went on to say that he felt the number one reason Pellerin may not have as much notoriety is he plays baseball, basketball and football.
“The other thing is most of your four- and five-star guys, they will start at quarterback their sophomore year. The quarterback that was older than him when he was a sophomore, he was an All-State player in his own right in that he’s playing college football now at McNeese State. I think that him not starting at quarterback until his junior year after being an All-State wide receiver his sophomore year, I think that led people to believe that quarterback wasn’t his natural position which isn’t right,” Indest said. “He was a quarterback in middle school and the only year he didn’t play quarterback was his sophomore year just because he was on the varsity team and they had an older guy that was a three-year starter. Jason was the freshman quarterback and also the JV quarterback as a sophomore. These days guys specialize so often and they’re hopping around to so many camps, all over the place and while they were doing that, Jason was playing basketball and baseball for his school. He led our baseball team to the state finals. He hit two, three-run homers in the state semifinals to get us to the finals. His selflessness, it probably hurt him a lot when it comes to those mythical stars and all that stuff.”
Pellerin, who has offers from Nebraska, California and Northwestern, just to name a few, described himself as a football player first, who can run and throw the ball and someone who knows what to do when things break down.
“I’m a competitor. Being smart with the football, that’s the main thing I’m focusing on,” said Pellerin, who grew up playing baseball first. “After playing such a long time, I guess I overplayed it and I just kept playing pee wee football and fell in love with it.
Pellerin added he tells people he plays like Cam Newton when asked what he looks like on the field and who he tries to emulate. Last season, Pellerin finished with 786 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground and 1,917 yards and 22 touchdowns, against just three interceptions, through the air.
Indest said that when Ole Miss quarterbacks coach Dan Werner visited during the spring, he knew that the Rebels would be a serious player to gain his commitment.
“He had gotten a few in-state offers, which he was excited about, but Coach Werner and I have a mutual friend who I worked with at Louisiana Tech and me and Coach Werner hit it off real fast. I could tell the second Ole Miss got involved, he kind of got bright eyed and he was really fired up about it. Ole Miss was the only school that he agreed to go visit that hadn’t offered because it was so important for him,” Indest said. “Nebraska and Mississippi State, they were begging him to come over and throw. When it’s not an official visit, it’s on these kids’ dime to go visit, and you just can’t literally fly all over the country and go to these schools. When he told me he was definitely going to Ole Miss and visit with Coach (Hugh) Freeze and throw and show him what he could, if they came through with an offer, that’s probably where he would end up.”
Werner and Freeze ended up being the biggest reasons why Pellerin decided to pick Ole Miss. He came to Oxford June 2 and then traveled up to Northwestern for a camp. After coming back home, he called Freeze with the good news.
“I enjoyed being around the players as well. They have a heart of a champion, and I’m looking for that. Watching some of their plays on film, it has a lot of NFL influences and I feel like that will help me learn, especially from Coach Werner being the great coach that he is. It’s going to be a great opportunity,” said Pellerin, who was rated as the No. 20 best overall athlete in the state by 247 Sports.com. “I feel like I fit perfect in the offense that they run. Watching Bo Wallace play, he’s had a lot of success in the SEC. I feel like I can do the same and compete for a spot and hopefully do the same things Bo has.”
Pellerin backed up Indest’s take on Ole Miss’ interest in him, saying Freeze really wanted him to come to Oxford to throw for him once he was done playing baseball.
“He told me that if I threw as well as I did at Catholic High in front of Coach Freeze then things would look good for me. I went up and threw for them at camp and they loved it,” Pellerin said. “I started out slow, but as I continued warming up, I found my rhythm and got hot and they loved it.”
Being so far away from home at Northwestern played a role in the decision, as did the SEC offer.
“It’s just a great opportunity for me and I couldn’t pass it up. I’m pretty much done recruiting. My goal was to get a scholarship from Ole Miss and commit there. I still may go to a few games at some other schools,” said Pellerin, who added he was unsure if his commitment would garner more offers from other schools trying to flip him. “If it does, it does. I’m not sure what other coaches are thinking.”
Heading into the season, Pellerin said he was going to work on improving his spiral.
“I have the arm strength and the accuracy, it’s just if I get my spiral there, it will make things that much easier for me,” Pellerin said. “Everywhere you go, you have to compete and just competing with those guys at Ole Miss, it’s going to be a great opportunity for all of us. It gives us a chance to work for that starting position and get better. Ole Miss is just such a great place, I fell in love with it. The facilities were just so nice. The people were nice and the fan support is crazy. It’s the SEC, it’s the best conference without a doubt.”
Pellerin wasn’t the only big news on the recruiting front for Ole Miss in the last week. Bruce athlete Jay Johnson (6-3, 211) and Armani Linton, of Walnut, both flipped from Mississippi State.
Johnson, rated as a four-star prospect by ESPN, is being looked at as a wide receiver, especially after impressing coaches with a 40-yard dash time of 4.52 seconds.
Linton, meanwhile, is a safety, with very good size (6-2, 196). Both Johnson and Linton are rated as two of the top 12 prospects in the state for the 2015 class. Ole Miss now has nine verbal pledges for the 2015 class.
For more on Johnson and Linton, see a video blog at www.oxfordcitizen.com