We can all learn from Jevan Snead

The 2010 draft came and went last weekend.  255 players and over a dozen quarterbacks later, Jevan Snead’s name was never called.

Fordham’s QB John Skelton went.  As did Appalachian State’s Armanti Edwards and Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour. Heck, even Troy’s Levi Brown and UAB’s Joe Webb heard their names called.  But no Snead.

Remember Jevan Snead?  He had all the tools and was seemingly an NFL lock after his sophomore season and a storybook performance in the Cotton Bowl.

Like William Wallace leading the Scottish vagabond warriors against King Edward I and his English army, Jevan Snead led the mighty Ole Miss Rebels into the 2009 season to finally gain their independence from the tyranny of SEC mediocrity.

But instead, Snead sank like a brick to the bottom of the Black Warrior River…and took the Rebels with him.

But, his plummet was not in vain.  We can all learn some things from this “braveheart”, can’t we?

Here is what Snead taught me:

1. You’re never as good as you or anyone else thinks you are.
The right game, circumstances, supporting cast or situation can elevate you to a level of admiration you don’t deserve.  Use that platform wisely and quickly.

2. If you do find yourself in a lofty position, act wisely.
There were still questions and doubters before the 2009 draft, but had he gone pro then no one would have known that he wasn’t really any good until after he was drafted.  Sure, his name would have been synonymous with Ryan Leaf, but he’d be a rich underachiever instead of a broke one.

3. If you can’t compete at the level you’re at, stay there until you can.
We’ll never know if Snead could have straightened out his college game.  He left the speed and physicality of SEC play to try and make it in the NFL, where the play is ten times faster and the collisions are likened to automobile crashes.  Basically he went from struggling to swim in a water park wave pool to jumping off a fishing boat 8 miles off the coast and trying to swim to shore.

4. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Or as the great philosopher Flava Flav put it, “Don’t believe the hype.”  I only watched Snead a couple of times a year: pulling against him with Bama and rooting for him against Abarn.  Oh, and the occasional egg bowl.  But in those few views, I saw him yelling at his teammates in a way totally opposite of the way Tim Mebow did it.  I could be wrong, but it didn’t appear to be encouragement, but rather chastisement.  Until you’ve earned the leadership, or I should say “follow-ship” of your peers, peers don’t want to be yelled at by other peers.  Only people who believe their press clippings try to lead before they have followers.

Should Snead have stayed in school? Yeaaaaah Boooooyyyyy!!!

5. Finally, when in doubt, stay put.
Santonio Beard.  Michael Vaughn.  Dante Ellington. Rod Grizzard, Kennedy Winston and Shea Cotton (though in basketball).  These names sing from the land beyond the field/court of competition… “Stay in school!  Stay and play!”  There are others, but you get the point.

I wish the the young man well and hope he goes on to have a great career.  I read an article at ClarionLedger.com this morning that suggests Snead can make it because Johnny Unitas and Kurt Warner did, both beating the odds.  It was a good read, but that’s like saying I can be a millionaire because Billy Bob Doofensmirch bought a winning lottery ticket at a gas station in south Macon, Georgia.  Undrafted at that position, the odds are simply against you.

I just hope our “junior” friends in Crimson are sitting up and taking notice.  It can go like Kareem and Rolondo, or it can go terribly, terribly wrong.  Choose wisely.