By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Jevan Snead is going pro.
The embattled quarterback for Ole Miss, once projected to be the first player taken in this year’s draft, will forego his senior season after a junior campaign that did not match his electrifying performance to close his sophomore season.
Snead, a 6-foot-4 native of Stephenville, Texas, threw 20 touchdown passes but also 20 interceptions this season, more than all other major college quarterbacks.
“After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to forego my final year at Ole Miss and enter the NFL draft,” Snead said in a university news release. “In the end, I had to do what is best for me and my family.”
Snead, who has already graduated, called his time at Ole Miss “an incredible experience.”
He leaves with an 18-8 record as the starting quarterback. More recent projections have him going as a possible third- or fourth-round pick.
“He’s already graduated, he’s been in three different systems, and weighing the pros and cons he just felt like he wanted to go play pro football right now. He did not want to wait another year,” Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said.
Snead’s decision comes six days after the Rebels’ 21-7 Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State in which Snead threw three interceptions and was benched due to performance for the first time all season.
Snead continued to showcase his arm strength in 2009 but his interceptions were the key element in the Rebels’ turnover margin, a minus-7 figure that ranked 11th in the SEC and No. 102 in the nation.
Six of Snead’s interceptions came in the last two games. He did not throw an interception in only three games and threw multiple interceptions seven times. Four times he threw three or more.
In the Rebels’ six-game win streak to close the 2008 season, Snead threw 16 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
Snead was recruited by the highest-profile schools in the country. He gave a verbal commitment to Florida but eventually signed with Texas.
When he was unable to unseat Colt McCoy and win the starting job, he transferred to Ole Miss and sat out the 2007 season, the final one under former head coach Ed Orgeron.
Snead ends his Ole Miss career as the school’s leader in average yards per completion at 14.4 and stands third in 200-yard passing games with 14.
His 5,394 passing yards are the second-highest two-year total in school history and rank him fifth among Ole Miss QBs.
He closes his college career with 46 touchdown passes and 33 interceptions.
Nutt said on Monday that quarterbacks Nathan Stanley, a third-year sophomore next season, and Raymond Cotton, a redshirt freshman, would compete for the job with Snead when spring drills begin.
Stanley appeared in five games, his only snaps with the game on the line coming in the Cotton Bowl where he threw his only interception in 23 pass attempts. He’s a pocket passer and has at times shown nice touch with the deep ball in workouts.
Cotton is noted for his arm strength and has an edge in mobility.
Those two are expected to be joined in August junior college transfer Randall Mackey. A long-time Ole Miss commitment, Mackey was one class away from being able to sign in December and enroll for spring drills.
Mackey’s quickness may make him the best athlete in the group, but he will face a more difficult challenge in completely new surroundings in August.
Nutt said he tried to influence Snead to come back.
“We want to thank Jevan for his outstanding play as our quarterback the last two years and wish him nothing but the best. We will be keeping up with him on the next level.”
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org