The University of North Texas may never have a chance of landing a player the caliber of Jevan Snead or Matt Stafford. The two were a pair of the best high school quarterbacks in the country.
Yet for one fateful day, the two best quarterbacks in the state of Texas would square off on the Mean Green’s Fouts Field in Denton, Texas. The scene was the 2005 Class 4A Division I state semifinal.
Snead’s Stephenville Yellow Jackets and Stafford’s Highland Park Scots were both coming into the showdown undefeated, ready to battle it out for a spot in the championship.
It was a display of the two best quarterbacks in Texas playing for two of the best teams in the state. Fans from all over came and packed the 30,000 seat stadium to see the marquee matchup of top Texas arms.
The game would live up to the hype. It was a shootout as expected, with both senior quarterbacks putting on a show.
After a back-and-forth four quarters, Stafford was able to hit his receiver, Holt Martin, for a seven-yard touchdown with just seconds left on the clock to give the Scots the 41-38 win.
With the victory, Stafford not only cemented himself as the top quarterback in Texas, but as the best quarterback in the nation.
It was a crushing and devastating defeat for Stephenville and Snead. They had come so close to knocking off the mighty Highland Park, who would go on to take the No. 2 ranking in the state that year. The Yellow Jacket quarterback had almost outgunned the top gunslinger.
Regardless off all the accomplishments and accolades, Jevan Snead would walk off the field that day being recognized not as one of the elite players in all of the country, but as just the other quarterback.
For Snead, it is a role he sadly would have to endure throughout his collegiate career.
Both Stafford and Snead were courted by the top BCS programs in the country that season. Stafford would ultimately choose to move on to the SEC with the Georgia Bulldogs while Jevan caught home state fever and decided to stay and play for the Texas Longhorns.
It was a decision he would ultimately regret.
After Vince Young decided to depart early for the NFL, there was an opportunity for Snead to compete with redshirt freshman Colt McCoy over the vacated starting quarterback position.
After a battle in the summer, it would be a competition that Snead would eventually come up short in. Colt had a year of experience over the young freshman. and he took the reigns at quarterback. With the exception of a some spot duties, Snead simply was left to watch.
He was once again just “the other quarterback.”
Jevan, seeing he could potentially sit four years behind the newly-appointed McCoy, opted to move on to join Stafford in the SEC at Ed Orgeron’s Mississippi program.
At Mississippi, Snead saw the chance to finally be recognized as the man. This was his chance to rise up from the shadows.
Things were far from easy in the beginning though. During his season of ineligibility, Snead watched as the Rebels would stumble to a 3-9 finish. Eventually Orgeron was ousted as head coach in favor of Houston Nutt.
With a new coach, a new quarterback, and a lot of question marks, not many knew what to expect from Ole Miss during the 2008 season.
Still, no matter what those expectations were, they were likely surpassed as Coach Nutt was able to guide the team to a 9-4 record and a win over Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl.
It was in large part due to the breakout season from Jevan. The sophomore threw for over 2,700 yards and 26 touchdowns. He had helped guide road upsets over traditional powers, Florida and LSU, and he had done so in the fashion of a seasoned veteran.
The Rebel quarterback had the look of a true first round franchise quarterback. His day as a prominent college football quarterback had finally come.
Yet, Snead watched at the end of the season as the same Florida Gators he had beaten earlier in October were crowned National Champions. He watched as Tim Tebow hoisted up the crystal football and laid his claim as the best quarterback in the SEC.
Jevan, a one-time Florida commit, had to be wondering if that could have been him up there holding that trophy. Maybe, just maybe, it could have been him to be the one starring in Dan Mullen’s spread offense instead of Tebow.
It all seemed inconsequential, though, as the Rebels had a top 10 team in 2009 and Snead looked to have a fast track to the NFL.
The junior quarterback came into the season widely regarded as a first round talent and one of the premier pro prospects in all of college football.
The hype wouldn’t last.
After an early season upset at the hands of the Gamecocks on a Thursday night in Colombia, things started to go south in a hurry.
Jevan lost his composure and competitiveness, and a season that started off with so much promise would end with another 9-4 record and a win in the Cotton Bowl.
The Rebels had stagnated and Snead’s stock in the eyes of professional scouts had dropped throughout his junior campaign.
Instead of challenging Tim Tebow for the honor of top SEC quarterback, Snead stepped aside as Ryan Mallett became the one with the hot young arm in the conference.
To make matters worse, Snead would watch as McCoy and his former teammates at Texas took a trip to Pasadena for a shot at the national championship.
It could only be imagined what went through Snead’s mind when he watched the senior Texas QB leave the game early with an injury. What if he had stayed? Could this have been his one moment on the big stage?
In back to back seasons, Snead had watched two schools he had once committed to play for national championships. It could not have been easy to deal to with.
Snead was faced with coming back to the SEC and being considered second rate once again in his career, only this time to Ryan Mallett.
He opted for the decision to turn pro and now finds himself back in the shadows of players like Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow.
The two had lived his dream of playing for a national championship and they had done so at the two schools he would have loved to play for.
Now Snead sits as a middle round prospect hoping for a pro team to give him a chance.
He has to deal with all the pundits debating about McCoy and Tebow, while no one utters a word about his own abilities.
Jevan Snead leaves college football just the way he came in, sitting in the shadows.