"I thought wow! Coach (Urban) Meyer and Coach (Dan) Mullen really know how to develop quarterbacks," said Jevan Snead, a 6-3, 205-pound quarterback from Stephenville, Texas who committed to Meyer and the Florida Gators Thursday. "That's not the entire reason I picked Florida, but it did have something to do with it. I'm just excited that I'm going to Florida."
As a junior, Snead completed 184-305 passes (60 percent) for 3025 yards and 28 touchdowns. He threw only nine interceptions. In addition to the big time arm, Snead showed he can take off and run with the ball, gaining 525 yards (4.9 per carry) on 108 carries good for 14 touchdowns. He has a 4.379 weighted GPA and has already recorded a qualifying ACT score.
Snead led Stephenville to a 10-0 regular season mark in 2004 and a number four ranking in the state. The Stephenville season came to an end against Wichita Falls Rider, a game in which he threw for 248 yards and ran for 181. Rider was led that night by David Nelson, the US Army All-America wide receiver who is part of Meyer's first recruiting class to Florida.
"He's phenomenal," said Nelson of Snead. "We beat them something like 24 points, 60-something to 35 or something like that, but even in the fourth quarter when we had the game won, he just wouldn't quit. He kept coming at us and I just came away with all the respect in the world for him. That was the most fun game I ever played. I had 256 yards receiving and four touchdowns. Our defense never did stop him. We just happened to score more points, that's all."
Nelson and Snead have formed a friendship since that game. Snead says the chance to throw to a receiver like David Nelson influenced his decision to pick Florida over Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and Auburn.
"David put the hurting on our defense," said Snead. "The fact he's going to be at Florida helped me decide. Now that I see I'm going to be throwing to him, it's pretty exciting. I've seen what he can do and I've seen those Florida wide receivers. I just saw the spring game on TV and it's phenomenal what Florida's receivers can do."
Nelson said he's excited that Snead will be part of Florida's program.
"He's not just a great quarterback, but he's a real quality person," said Nelson. "I've got a lot of respect for him. I'd say his three biggest strengths are his competitiveness because he never gives up; his poise because we threw everything at him and he hung in there …. We blitzed him and had people in his face all night and he took the hits and made the throws and it never fazed him; and his leadership … he's such a competitor that everyone will automatically want to follow him and he's comfortable in the role of a leader which is what you want of a quarterback."
Snead sees his strengths as his arm, his ability to see the entire field and knowing when to tuck the ball and run.
"My legs are becoming more important because I can keep a drive alive with my legs if nobody's open," he said. "I try to make good decisions and know when to run. I think I've become a pretty good runner."
Stephenville runs an offense quite similar to what Meyer ran at Utah and what the Gators will be running this year. That was another factor in his final decision.
"We got a lot of our stuff in our offense from Coach Meyer at Utah," he said. "Knowing how to run the things that Florida will be running is a real plus. I like the offense and I'm comfortable in it. I think it's a great offense."
When he came to Gainesville on spring break, he says he was impressed with the Florida campus and the facilities, but most of all, he was impressed with the university and with the coaches.
"I think it's a good place for me to be," he said. "I like everything about the University of Florida. I really like Coach Meyer. He's a great guy. I've been following Coach Meyer since he was at Utah. Ever since last season I have kept track of him and how he's doing. He's got a great record and he and Coach Mullen have a great record for developing quarterbacks."
Snead is going to graduate in December so he can participate in spring practice in 2006.
"I'm graduating in December," he said. "I want to get started at Florida as soon as I can."
His friend in Wichita Falls, David Nelson, says he'll be there welcoming him when he gets to Gainesville.
"This guy is great," said Nelson. "He's going to be a great quarterback at Florida. I'm looking forward to catching passes from him."