Coincidentally, I wound up attending both of Ole Miss' final two games in person, and it is my nonprofessional opinion that Rebel quarterback Jevan Snead has not yet completely recovered from this hit in his team's Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State:
Yes, Snead was allowed to return after a few series on the bench. But he will leave his final season on the table and enter the draft:
JACKSON, Miss. (AP)—Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead is going pro, skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft after leading the Rebels to their best back-to-back seasons in nearly four decades.
"After long talks last night and this morning, we tried very hard to keep Jevan as an Ole Miss Rebel for one more year," [coach Houston] Nutt said. "I'm sure the fact that he has already finished his degree played a role in his decision, and I do respect his decision."
"Miserable" is too strong a word to describe Snead's junior season, but it certainly didn't live up to the expectations he created by exploding at the end of his sophomore year in 2008. The former Texas blue chip -- who backed out of a commitment to Florida when Tim Tebow signed on to the same recruiting class, then transferred from Texas when Colt McCoy emerged as the heir apparent to Vince Young -- offered up an astonishing 20 interceptions in 2009, seven more than he threw in '08 and three more than any other quarterback in the country. Snead was picked off at least twice in seven games, and subsequently saw his efficiency rating drop by more than 20 points from its sophomore number as the Rebels shifted the emphasis on offense to running back Dexter McCluster over the second half of the year.
It's odd that a guy who bounced around for so long in search of a chance to get on the field is so eager to move on to a likely backup role at the next level when he still has room to improve his stock at Ole Miss, but Snead's not conjuring up NFL interest out of thin air: He still has the size and the arm that made him such a coveted recruit and one of the top pro prospects coming into this season, and still passed for 20 touchdowns while leading the Rebels to their first back-to-back January bowl wins since the early sixties. His 18 wins as a starter in two seasons is more than any Ole Miss quarterback in a two-year span since before Archie Manning. Frankly, though, this would have made more sense at this time last year.
Other players forgoing their senior seasons in less controversial fashion over the last two days include UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price, a likely first rounder, as well as Virginia Tech defensive end Jason Worilds and Penn State defensive end Jerome Hayes, who isn't a top prospect but has a young son to consider.