2011 Intro: Ben Snotherly

RALEIGH, N.C. --- Midway through last season, Ben Snotherly became fully comfortable quarterbacking Athens Drive High School's unique, quarterback-reliant offense.

"It takes a little while to feel comfortable," Athens Drive assistant football coach Jimmy Ray said. "I think Ben the last half of the year really came into his own with being able to look out, see the defense, and know what he wants to do."

That comfort feeling greatly contributed to Snotherly's standout junior season. Athens Drive went 9-4 and the 6-foot-3, 193-pounder completed 181-of-335 passes (54-percent) for 2,490 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for 860 yards and 12 scores on 158 carries.

"I kid Ben a lot, because I call him Colt McCoy," Ray said. "That's a big name to throw on him, but I look at him in that mold. Ben is deceptively quick… Ben is able to run the football, as well as being able to throw the football… He's definitely an athletic kid with great arm strength. He throws the deep ball very well, [but] we're trying to get him more consistent with his short passing game right now."

Jeff Smouse, Athens Drive's head football coach, runs an up-tempo, no-huddle, gun spread offense. Its base formation is a four-wide receiver, one-back shot gun.

"A lot of teams spread to run you, we try to be balanced," Ray said. "…We like to spread it out, because we feel like that makes it easier on the quarterback and offensive line. When the defense is spread out, it makes Ben's reads easier and our receivers' reads easier."

The quarterback in the offense is not only asked to be a passer, but also contribute to the running game with draws and zone-options. Additionally, and more importantly, a lot is put on the quarterback mentally.

"The biggest thing we ask of Ben is his week preparation going into a game," Ray said. "Ben must know his reads, know what we're looking for, [and] have an idea of where the pressure may come.

"In the game, his job [before the snap] is to count [the defenders in] the box. If there are six in the box, we're going to check to a run. If they load up the box, we go to a pass.

"If we have a pass called and he looks out and sees man coverage on his favorite target, Louis [Wilder], he can check and go to a hitch or a fade."

During his sophomore season, Snotherly was prematurely thrown under center. An injury to his older brother, Ross who was the starting quarterback, forced him to start five games and see significant time in a few others.

"It was the first time I've ever been put in a varsity situation," Snotherly said. "I was just trying to learn from [my brother]. And when he got hurt, I just tried to go in there and do the best I could do. I knew I wasn't going to do anything spectacular, just because I had never been in the situation I was in before."

Following that season, Snotherly's brother graduated and walked on at NC State leaving the starting quarterback role to Snotherly.

"It was much easier," Snotherly said. "I knew I was going to get all the reps in practice and I know I was going to have plenty of time to work with Louis and other receivers."

Snotherly's junior season has resulted in interest from Duke, East Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, UCLA, Wake Forest, and several MAC schools.

Butch Davis was among the head coaches to visit Athens Drive during the Winter Evaluation Period. While on campus, Davis, like many other highly interested coaches, invited Snotherly to camp.

Snotherly plans to attend one-day camps at Duke, East Carolina, UNC, NC State, and Wake Forest.

Snotherly is favoring three in-state schools.

"I really like Duke because of Coach [David] Cutcliffe and their program has turned around a lot," Snotherly said. "I've always been a Wake Forest fan and of course I was born a [NC] State fan and my brother goes there. If I got an offer from either one of those three it would be great."

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