JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead is going pro, skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft after leading the Rebels to their best back-to-back seasons in nearly four decades.
Snead, considered a top prospect, made the announcement Thursday in a news release issued by the university.
"The fans, coaches and my teammates at Ole Miss have been unbelievable, and I want to thank them for an incredible experience," Snead said. "In the end, I had to do what is best for me and my family. Having finished my degree, I look forward to the challenge and hard work that comes with pursuing my dream of playing quarterback in the NFL."
Neither Snead nor Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt were available for comment.
The Stephenville, Texas, native was a top high school prospect and was hailed as something of a savior when he transferred from Texas three seasons ago. He largely delivered.
His decision comes after leading the Rebels (9-4) to a 21-7 win over Oklahoma State for Ole Miss' second straight Cotton Bowl victory. The win marked the first time the Rebels had back-to-back nine-win seasons since the 1961-62 seasons and consecutive January bowl wins since 1960-61.
That's a heady milestone at a school where quarterback excellence is measured by the name Manning.
"After long talks last night and this morning, we tried very hard to keep Jevan as an Ole Miss Rebel for one more year," Nutt said. "I'm sure the fact that he has already finished his degree played a role in his decision, and I do respect his decision. He is young man of great character and Jevan will always be a member of the Ole Miss family."
He earned that membership with two of the best seasons turned in by any Rebels quarterback.
Snead passed for 5,394 yards at Ole Miss, the second best two-year total and fifth on the career list. He set records for yards per pass attempt (8.0) and completions (14.4), established a new mark with multiple touchdown passes in eight straight games and is second to Eli Manning on the career touchdown passes list with 46.
After passing for 2,762 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore, Snead was mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate and analysts said he was a better pro prospect than players like Florida's Tim Tebow and Texas' Colt McCoy. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier even voted him the Southeastern Conference's top quarterback – over Tebow – in a bit of preseason melodrama that brought Snead more national attention.
His junior season was marked by inconsistency, though, and his production dropped off slightly as he finished with 20 touchdown passes, but 20 interceptions – seven more than he threw the previous season.
Ole Miss will now turn to quarterbacks Nathan Stanley and Raymond Cotton for a new starter when spring practice begins. Stanley, a redshirt freshman, played briefly in the Cotton Bowl when Snead took a hard hit that left him disoriented for a while, and Cotton, a freshman, was redshirted.