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April 17, 2008After a year and a half on the Ole Miss campus, former Texas quarterback Jevan Snead is entrenched as the Rebels' starter for the 2008 season, however it could be a battle for the number two position.
While 2008 Ole Miss signee Nathan Stanley didn't have the benefit of going through spring practice, he very well could be Snead's backup when the season opens in Oxford against Memphis on Aug. 30.
In order to do that, he'll have to unseat Billy Tapp, who is on his second quarterback tour after having previously been shifted to tight end earlier in his career. The Rebels also signed another high school quarterback, Chris Wilkes.
"When I was on my official visit, I sat down with coach (Houston) Nutt and I told him I wanted to be a Rebel," Stanley said Wednesday evening. "The plan was for me to redshirt, but shortly after signing day, my mother got a call and they told her they want me to be ready to play as a true freshman."
With the change of plans, Stanley is doing his part to get ready.
He made two trips from his home in Tahlequah, Okla. since the Rebels began spring practice in March and on each trip, watched two practices. He also met with coaches, sat in on quarterback meetings and has been studying some basic plays that the staff has provided.
During the first trip, he sat down with Nutt and offensive coordinator Kent Austin and went over plans leading up to the fall.
"They told me they want me to compete for the number two position," Stanley said. "My goal is to work hard and be the best I can."
Another plus for the 6-foot-5 Stanley is that he's bulked up from 185 pounds last fall to a current weight on 205. He was timed at Arkansas' camp last summer and ran a 4.6 forty-yard dash.
It's that connection to Nutt that led Stanley to Ole Miss.
"I'm a big fan of coach Nutt," he said. "He has been recruiting me since I was a sophomore. I guess he was impressed with me and when I took my visit, I felt this was the place where I wanted to be."
The visit last January sold Stanley, and his mother, Gina, on Ole Miss.
"It's the SEC and the facilities were great and the coaching staff is really impressive," Stanley said.
Stanley's most recent trip was over last weekend, when he took in practice on Friday and then stayed for the Grove Bowl on Saturday.
"I was impressed and glad to see a record attendance," he said. "It was exciting. I was impressed with team, there's lots of speed and I'm just excited about joining them."
Stanley plans to enroll in school in late May for the first semester of summer school and begin individual workouts with his teammates. He'll also get the benefit of supervised workouts by the strength and conditioning staff.
"I've met a few of the wide receivers already," Stanley said. "They look like guys who work hard and they are impressive on the field. I just need to get my timing down with them."
The individual workouts with quarterbacks and receivers is likely going to be led by Snead. And while Stanley probably won't push Snead for playing time, it's not beyond his desires.
"Jevan's a good quarterback," Stanley said. "He's been there longer and I just plan on getting in there and see what happens."
It's not lost on Stanley that he could be one snap away from seeing the field in his first year out of high school and his goal is to be ready if needed.