Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Imagine if somebody had proclaimed following the Vanderbilt game a year ago that Ole Miss' Jevan Snead would enter this season as one of the top handful of quarterbacks in college football.
Snead had more interceptions (seven) than touchdown passes (six) at that point and was coming of a horrid four-interception performance against the Commodores in which the Rebels didn't score an offensive touchdown in a 23-17 loss.
The jury was still very much out on the strong-armed Texan who'd transferred from Texas following the 2006 season and was seeing SEC defenses live and in color for the first time.
"Fortunately, I was able to grow in the system, but that's what you should do when you gain a little experience," said Snead, who ended the season by throwing 16 touchdown passes and only three interceptions during the Rebels' six-game winning streak.
Chances are his start will be a lot better this season, although Snead is taking nothing for granted.
If anything, he's worked even harder this past offseason and knows nothing will come easy for the Rebels, who will be the last SEC team to open preseason camp when they hit the practice fields Monday night.
The 6-3, 215-pound junior worked the Manning Passing Academy for the second straight year, dug a little deeper into the Ole Miss playbook and did his best to set the tone for the rest of the team, not so much by what he said, but by what he did.
"I feel like I'm ready to take more of the offense on my shoulders and be able to do a lot more than last year," said Snead, who dons an easy smile when anybody mentions him in the same breath as Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy.
After all, it was McCoy who beat out Snead at Texas during the 2006 season, precipitating Snead's transfer to Ole Miss.
He's never looked back.
"Any time you're in a situation like that, it's tough to see the big picture," Snead said. "I just knew my chances of it happening there weren't too good, so I knew I had to get out of that situation. I feel like God has a plan for all of us, and it truly worked out the best it could."
The Rebels would sure say so.
Snead proved time and time again a year ago that he's as good as there is in college football when it comes to making throws under duress. He has that sixth sense about him to be able to feel pressure, get out of the pocket, keep his eyes on his targets and make throws on the move.
He's certainly a different kind of quarterback than Tebow and not nearly as accomplished on the college level, but many in the NFL ranks think Snead will be drafted higher than Tebow.
Snead doesn't even want to begin to go there. After all, he's only a junior. Plus, Tebow has a Heisman Trophy on his mantle and a pair of BCS national championship rings.
But to say that Tebow and the Gators haven't crossed Snead's mind at all wouldn't be completely true. In their only head-to-head matchup, Snead came out on top a year ago.
"It's just a great honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as Tebow," Snead said. "He's a heck of an athlete and a great person as well."
And as Snead notes, the Rebels and Gators don't play this year ... in the regular season.
"We're going to do everything we can to be able to play them when the time comes," Snead said.
As in Dec. 5 in Atlanta in the SEC Championship Game.