BY: JAMES O. COVINGTON
Photo by: Hays Collins
It started with Jevan Snead, who transferred from Texas and became a two-year starter. Next was Oregon transfer Jeremiah Masoli, who started last season in his only year at Ole Miss.
Now, Barry Brunetti is competing for the starting position after transferring from West Virginia. Transfer quarterbacks are becoming a tradition at Ole Miss.
Brunetti is engaged in a three-way competition for the starting job with Randall Mackey and Zack Stoudt, a junior college transfer who originally signed with Louisville.
The Rebels start practice next week without any true experience at the position, Nathan Stanley, who filled in for Snead in the 2010 Cotton Bowl left Oxford for Hammond, transferring to SE Louisiana.Now coach Houston Nutt must provide an answer to the position to solidify the Rebels hopes of reaching a bowl game. Chances are the battle between the three will spill into September during games. And that’s never a good thing.
Over in Starkville, Chris Relf returns to guide the Bulldogs. He’s bigger, faster, and stronger than last year and that’s good news. Still State must find a reliable passing game under Relf, who is more of a runner than a thrower. Backups provide support for State in Dylan Favre and Tyler Russell. The Bulldogs will rely on Relf most of the season, he’s their offense and he’s their backbone.
Down in Hattiesburg, Austin Davis drew rave reviews at The Manning Passing Academy from Archie Manning as one of the top senior quarterbacks in the nation. Davis has bulked up from 205-pounds to 220-pounds this off-season too, and for Southern Miss that could mean a run towards an undefeated season. The USM schedule is favorable in every aspect for that to happen this fall.
In the SWAC, Casey Therriault returns to give Jackson State a chance at winning the conference. Therriault accounted for 41 touchdowns last year, 31 passing and 10 running.
Up in Lorman, Brandon Bridges returns to give Alcorn State a solid chance this season. Bridges is a dual-threat quarterback with speed to burn and a cannon for an arm. The Braves got the addition of Ole Miss transfer Andrew Harris at wide receiver, plus some talented recruits in to aid Bridges.
For Mississippi Valley State, no true answer at the position will be given until the season begins. Valley has several players competing for the top spot, as many as six players could have the chance of landing the starting job for the Delta Devils.
Finally at Delta State, former Co-Lin standout Micah Davis returns for the Statesmen. Davis gives Delta State another shot at winning a Division Two National Championship this season with his awareness and poise at the position. Delta State also signed Natchez High prep star Javon Washington, who could provide support if Davis falls this season.
Speaking of Co-Lin, the State’s top junior college prospect at the position could be found there in Chandler Rogers, who prepped at Brookhaven Academy the last three years. Rogers had offers from Cornell, Arkansas State, and Delta State before deciding to sign with the Wolves. He’s a 6-3, 200-pound pocket-passer with a rocket arm.