No Ole Miss player since Eli Manning has been greeted into his Ole Miss football career with higher expectations for "stardom" than sophomore Quarterback Jevan Snead, with the possible exception of DT Jerrell Powe and his three-year journey to eligibility.
At the high end of the expectations spectrum, Jevan is considered somewhat of the saviour of Ole Miss football to some.
The very lowest level is that Snead will be "the real deal," able to lead the Rebels to many wins.
Either way, the personable Texan does not allow those lofty thoughts to put pressure on him.
On the contrary, he uses those expectations as a weapon of motivation.
"I have felt the outside expectations, but those things motivate me. I don't take days off. I know I have to work hard and make sure I know what I am doing because I know my position is the most visible on the field. The expectations have been a good thing, somewhat of a driving force, for me," said Jevan. "Just knowing everyone, including the team, is behind me is motivation. Everyone is so excited now and that keeps me going.
"My expectations for myself are to win and to manage the offense. I want to do everything I can for the team to help us win. If I didn't work hard one day, I would know that would translate into a bad play here and there and we can't have that. I have to strive for excellence all the time."
Snead has been working hard this summer in anticipation of the fast-approaching season.
"Summer has been great. It's been fun knowing I'm 'the man.' It's kept me working hard and kept me motivated," Snead said.
Snead and Billy Tapp, as is the case with the QBs every summer, have been the organizers of volunteer 7-on-7 drills where the skill players on both sides of the ball get together and throw the pigskin around two or three times a week.
"I've been very excited to see how many players have participated in 7-on-7. Everybody wants to win. Nobody wants to have another season like we did last year and we are all willing to get out there and work to help the team," he continued.
Jevan has workd on three areas of his game this summer - his pass drops, his throwing fundamentals/mechanics, and learning the offense better.
"All those areas are coming around. In spring, my head was spinning a little bit with the information overload, but I've been getting into my playbook harder this summer and it's helped a lot," Snead stated. "On my drops, I don't feel as good as I want to, but I have improved a lot since spring. I'm not bad at dropping back anymore, but I know I can keep improving to perfect it.
"I never dropped back in high school, it was all shotgun, but we did a little at Texas and that's when I realized I had to work on it. Now, I am much more comfortable dropping back."
Most observers recognize the Rebel wide receivers as a strength of the team. Their QB feels the same way.
"They have done really well this summer. They have gotten stronger and faster this spring and their route-running is more crisp. They are doing everything right. They are a lot more mature than last year and they will prove to be a strength of our team," he stated. "I could feel guys like Markeith Summers and Lionel Breaux starting to come around in spring and they have gotten even better in summer.
"They've done well this summer making plays. I am extremely excited about them. As for the newcomers at wideout, I'm also excited about Andrew Harris. You are always excited to get someone who can make an impact on your team and I think he will. He's a big target, he can run and he can catch. He just has to work on learning the system."
In 7-on-7, the running backs and tight ends are also involved in the pass drills. Jevan has been pleased with their progress as well.
"Our running backs can move. They are quick and they can catch, which impresses me. I definitely like a back I can throw a 5-yard pass to and watch them get us 30-yard gains. That helps me and the offense out," he added. "All the new guys are getting more comfortable as we go. Speed of the game is one of the biggest adjustments for any young player on this level, but they are getting there.
"Gerald Harris and David Traxler are also making progress. They always ask for extra passes and I try to feed them some. They have definitely improved."
Snead said the atmosphere in the Ole Miss football program is like night and day in the differences from last year.
"I wasn't playing, but I was here practicing and I saw everyone dropping their heads and getting down. It's the complete opposite right now. Everyone has their head up, everyone has their chest bowed out and everyone has a little pep in their step," Snead observes. "That's the way it should be. We should be excited to go out there and play for Coach (Houston) Nutt and his staff, for Ole Miss and for ourselves."
Jevan believes all the Rebs need to do is develop a new habit, one of winning.
"I had never been around losing until last year. I think winning and losing can become a habit. In everything we do to get ready for the season, we are pushed to the point where you can give in or push through. The difference in winning and losing is what you do at that critical point," he closed. "That's what we have been working hard on - pushing through and not giving in. Pushing through adversity. I'm seeing a lot more of that now than I did last year.
"We are starting to get excited about working hard and doing what it takes. We are not going through the motions any more."
Snead said the team now has a change of its mentality, which includes high expectations of winning.
He certainly expects to win and he doesn't mind others expecting it too.
In fact, those expectations help keep him going.
Jevan Snead update -
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