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January 8, 2007

Snead makes being hometown hero easy

Editor's note: Look at Ole Miss football, and most Rebel fans point to 2008 as the year Ed Orgeron's squad will make some noise in the Southeastern Conference. It will be Orgeorn's fourth season and the Rebels will have a roster stocked with the former Rivals.com recruiter of the year's players. There's no player that will be no more central to success than Jevan Snead, the former Rivals.com four-star prospect who played at Texas last fall. RebelSports.net's James Bryant spent the day recently with Snead and now introduces him to the Rebel Nation. In a three part series, part one looks at Snead, a hometown hero; part two (on Tuesday) looks at what Snead brings to Ole Miss, and part three concludes with a look at how Snead ended up at Ole Miss.

STEPHENVILLE, TEXAS -- The new television show, Friday Nights Lights, portrays the life and trials of Texas high school football players and the importance of the game in the Lone Star state.

While the show and movie gives outsiders a chance to see what it's like to grow up in Texas, and the pressures that goes with it, one Ole Miss signee knows first-hand the pressure of growing up a hometown hero in a small Texas town.

Former University of Texas quarterback Jevan Snead grew up in the state of Texas and moved to Stephenville, a city of 15,000, the summer prior to his freshman year in high school.

It didn't take long for Snead's opportunity to come and for him to establish himself as the quarterback of the future for his hometown Yellow Jackets.

During his sophomore season in high school, he got his first varsity start after the starter went down with a concussion.

"I won't never forget that game," veteran Stephenville head coach Chad Morris said. "It was the eighth game of the season and we were battling for a playoff spot. Jevan got the start and we had game planned all week not to throw the ball as much, to ease him into his first start."

All Snead did in his first game as a starter was to go eight for eight and throw for more than 212 yards with two touchdown passes in the first half.

"I knew at halftime of that game we could take the reigns off of him and that I had something special," Morris said. "Stephenville has had a lot of great quarterbacks, but Jevan is by far one of the best."

Snead finished that game with over 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes in an upset win over Crowley to start a tremendous career in Stephenville.

The next two years, the talented strong armed signal caller went 23-2 as a starter for the Yellow Jackets leading his hometown team to the state playoff in back to back seasons.

He threw for more than 3,000 yards as a junior and had 30 passing touchdowns that capped off a 10-2 season. He returned his senior season and took Stephenville to the state semifinals where the team ended the season with a 13-1 record - their only loss coming against a Matthew Stafford-led Highland Park team the eventual state champion in Class 4A. Stafford, a five star prospect, went on to sign with Georgia and ended last season as the Bulldogs starting quarterback as a true freshman.

Morris explains the one word describes Snead the most.

"He's a winner," Morris said. "He is such a humble young man that doesn't have an inflated ego whatsoever. It's a lot of pressure to play quarterback at Stephenville. It's a community that loves their quarterbacks and will back them wherever they go. Everyone loves Jevan, his teachers, his peers, the people of Stephenville and of course his family."

Visit Stephenville and talk about Snead and it's readily apparent how the local community feels about their former starting quarterback.

"We all love Jevan," said one Stephenville resident. "He is such a great player and such a great person. Ole Miss will have a new contingent of fans, over 15,000 of them, rooting for Jevan and the Rebels now."

Morris emphasizes that one thing that makes Snead standout above all the rest is the fact that he never forgets where he came from.

"He and I have always had a saying," Morris said. "I would talk to him before his games at Texas and I would tell him one thing, just 'Be Snead' - that's all it will take for him to be successful."

Snead admits that one thing that he enjoys the most is the admiration he receives from the youngsters and fellow students at Stephenville.

"I remember when I was their age and following my favorite quarterbacks at my school," Snead said. "I will stop whatever I'm doing and sign an autograph for a fan. I remember how important it was to me when I was their age. It's also a big honor for me for them to ask."

Stephenville has had several top quarterbacks come through its city such as University of Houston senior Kevin Kolb, Brandon Stewart, Kendall Briles, Keilan Luker and Cody Ledbetter.

"It has meant a lot to me to follow such great quarterbacks at Stephenville," Snead said. "It's been a honor to carry on the tradition that they have started here."

Snead has more than just a few fans in Stephenville; the city's mayor, Rusty Jergins, is one of his biggest fans.

"He is such an outstanding athlete and just as great young man," Jergins said. "He is a big time winner at whatever he does. He has helped provide a lot of excitement to our city and is definitely one of our hometown heroes. Everyone in Stephenville will be following his successes at Ole Miss."

Another group of fans of Snead's is his family. It was apparent the closeness of the future Ole Miss quarterback and his entire family unit.

"My family means so much to me," Snead said. "I love them so much. I can't imagine doing anything without them. Both my parents have given me their blessing and are excited about my future at Ole Miss. They have always been very supportive of me. My Dad use to drive an hour a day, three days a week, to take me to play YMCA football. Now, they will just have to drive a little farther."

Jevan's father, Jaylon, admits that he didn't care for flying much and probably will put a lot of miles on the family vehicles keeping up with his son's games at Ole Miss.

"I don't know how much we will fly," laughed the elder Snead. "You can bet that we will be at all the games we can be at. We are very proud of Jevan and know he will do great things at Ole Miss."

While it may not be really easy to be a hometown hero, Snead makes everything he does seem easier than what it is, this is no exception.

Part two (on Tuesday) of this three part series looks at what Snead brings to Ole Miss and part three concludes on Wednesday with a look at how Snead ended up at Ole Miss.


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