Opponents may expect a drop off from the Rebels this coming season with the likes of Willy Korn, Stanley Hunter, Chad Diehl, and others who have graduated and will now be playing on Saturdays. Although Bobby Bentley has left to coach his college alma mater Presbyterian College he didn't exactly leave the cupboard bare. New head coach Chris Miller inherits a Byrnes program that should remain at or near the very top of the state overall. The Rebels' biggest question heading into next season will be who replaces Willy Korn. SCPrepNation.com has attended a few of the Rebels' spring practices and their annual Rebel Bowl for some insight as to who the candidates are for Chris Miller at quarterback.
Chris White, a rising senior is one of the frontrunners as he posesses solid arm strength and decent size standing 6'1 185 pounds. In terms of experience he has played during the 4th quarters of some of the Rebels' games. He throws a good ball but his lack of big game experience has yet to be tested.
Trent Bailey also saw the field late in some games last season and has improved a great deal with his precision and timing.
Justin Bright who started last year as a defensive back for the Rebels also took a few snaps under center for Byrnes. At 6'1 175 pounds Bright has good size. What separates him from the others in this group are his speed and elusiveness which are very deceptive. His passing ability from what we've seen is good but too inconsistent at this point. Bright projects as a college defensive back, and we expect him to be one of the next rising stars for the Rebels over the next two seasons.
Chas Dood enjoyed the most success and reps in backup situations last season for the Rebels. Opponents saw a 5'9 160 pound freshman last year but the youngster has a big arm for his age and passed for a over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns in limited action. Dodd is the quarterback of the future for the Rebels as he is the son of former head coach Bobby Bentley. Should he continue his growth we expect Dodd to be a top rated QB in the class of 2010. At this point in time he has the tools necessary to play a great deal this year but it could be a great deal to shoulder the load for just a rising sophomore. However being put into the fire early in his career has only helped him and we expect him to see the field a great deal this year.
The coaches and staff have not named a starter yet but the Rebels have four youngsters who can step forward and make contributions in leading next year's team. White and Bailey have been in the program longer but Dodd has shown the most promise to date. Bright brings a dual-threat attack that could be problematic for opposing defenses to stop teaming with sophomore stud running back Marcus Lattimore in the backfield. It would appear the Rebels are in a situation that other programs would enjoy as they can insert and interchange quarterbacks for matchups and necessity when/if needed.
Regardless with an offensive line that is much larger than years past the Rebels will be able to play some smashmouth football with Marcus Lattimore, Jamain Kelly, Jamel Watson, and Nick Jones all taking handoffs in the backfield. The question remains will the Rebels continue their high powered passing attack? Without a doubt it remains the major part of their offensive attack but they now have the ability to play more power football as well. As they continue their offseason with various passing leagues and tournaments all over the southeast each week that passes their quarterbacks are gaining more confidence and ability.
So in regards as to who will be the starter for the Rebels, nobody really knows. From what we've seen thus far though the Rebels won't have a problem at the quarterback situation. The pieces are in place and provided everyone stays healthy they will be one of the teams to beat once again next year.
"Byrnes A.W." will indeed be interesting to see but blessed with a defense that appears to be just as strong a group as last season lead by DL Everette Dawkins, DB Cartier Rice, DB Justin Bright, LB Skylar Franklin, LB Colby Conner, DB Nick Jones, and etc. For those who believe the Rebels will be down a great deal this year...don't count on it...because the Rebels are wanting you to keep believing it so they can prove those doubters wrong next year.