Mississippi 2008: The Quarterbacks

It has been a little while since Mississippi produced a top flight division one prospect at quarterback. Jeremy Young of Provine High School currently starts for Southern Miss, but before Jeremy the big names of Bilbo, Campbell and Barnes all elected to go out of state with mixed results. 2009 looks to be loaded at QB, but what about the 2008 signing class?

With so many high school programs putting their best athlete behind center, the passing game has not always been the modus operandi. You take your best player and make sure he gets to touch it every time. Let him make some plays for you. That thinking pretty much summed up a lot of teams' offensive philosophy.

Times may be changing now that offensive schemes have become more complicated. With the spread offense showing up with more regularity, the development at the quarterback position may be on the comeback.

If you look at the numbers alone Jami Boland of Nettleton is having a career to remember. As a junior in 2006, Jami was 170 of 298 for 57%, 3,012 yards and a state record 42 touchdown passes.

Jami's size will likely be an issue for BCS schools, but with his arm and accuracy Jami should earn some collegiate opportunities.

One of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the state is Koscuisko's Kendrick Presley. Kendrick threw for 1,146 yards, ran for 1,134 more and accounted for 26 Whippet touchdowns. Kendrick will likely play another position in college, but he can certainly make some things happen with the ball in his hands.

Michael Ledbetter of Shannon saw his junior season shortened due to a knee injury. In just over four games, Michael completed 74 of 132 passes for 1,198 yards and 17 touchdowns. Ledbetter also has division one size at 6'3'',195. If he comes back 100% he is certainly one to watch.

Charles "BoBo" Rancifer is simply electric. Brookhaven is expected to be one of the top offenses in the southern half of Mississippi's 4A classification and Rancifer is a key reason why. Charles was 92 of 170 for 1,466 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also ran for 833 yards and four scores.

Perhaps the top returning signal caller in the Mississippi Pine Belt is Forrest County AHS qb Corey Danner. Danner has some work to do, but he could be one of the top targets in his area. Danner completed 72 of 140 passes as a junior for 1243 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Morton High School quarterback Dedrick McDonald has the size and arm strength to be a good one. At 6'4'' Dedrick is big enough and athletic enough to play qb at the next level. As a junior McDonald was 82 of 155 for 1,572 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Brad Henderson of Starkville may get some looks and has the ability to play other positions. Brad is a very good high school quarterback. He was of 147 of 271 as a junior for 1,920 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Oliver Hughes of Grenada is another great athlete playing quarterback. He threw for 1,599 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2006 and with his top targets back in 2007 he should improve even more.

The Mississippi Private School ranks also have some talented quarterbacks for 2008.

Andrew Watkins of the Lamar School threw for more yards than any player who strapped on a helmet in the state of Mississippi. Watkins' 2,814 yards was the highest total of any quarterback public of private regardless of classification. Andrew completed 176 of his 311 pass attempts and threw 28 touchdowns.

If you like running the option then Stephen Felker may be your guy. In the Starkville Academy offense, Felker does not get a lot of passing attempts. He knows how to read the defensive end and makes good decisions. He may get his chance in college as a safety. Felker already has that kind of toughness.

Leake Academy's Allen Johnson threw 32 touchdown passes in 2006. His total was second best in the state to Darin Faris' 33. Allen was 125 of 234 for 2,051 yards. Johnson is also considered one of the state's top collegiate baseball prospects, so his college decision may be two fold.

This list is not meant to be totally inclusive, but the afore mentioned players proved in 2006 that they have what it takes to move their teams forward.

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