December 12, 2010

Stoudt to decide between Ole Miss, Kansas Monday

Zack Stoudt returned to snowy Council Bluffs, Iowa, Sunday afternoon, basically knowing where he's going to play college football next season.

Stoudt wasn't giving any hints, at least not to inquiring reporters, but the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Ohio native has seen all he needs to see to decide between finalists Ole Miss and Kansas.

Stoudt will likely make his decision public sometime Monday after informing coaches in Oxford and Lawrence.

"I don't want to be a guy who leads coaches on until Wednesday and then puts a baseball hat on at a table," Stoudt said. "I think that's so disrespectful."

Stoudt took an official visit to Ole Miss over the weekend. The 48 hours in Oxford, Stoudt said, were "very good. I'd never been there before so I guess I didn't have any expectations or anything like that going in, but I definitely wasn't disappointed by anything. I loved it. It was fantastic."

Final exams had been completed at Ole Miss earlier in the week, so Oxford's popular Square was quieter usual. If anything, that served as a positive for Stoudt.

"When we went out at night, it was relaxed," Stoudt said. "I wasn't there to go out and party. We went out and there were quite a few people out."

Stoudt was far more interested in what Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, quarterbacks coach Dave Rader and others had to say about the Rebels' offense and his potential role in it.

"They told me they need a quarterback," Stoudt said. "It was no disrespect to the two guys they have a scholarship (rising juniors Randall Mackey and Nathan Stanley), but they need somebody to come in and take over that job. I'd have to come in and earn it, obviously, but they obviously like what I do."

Ole Miss operated a pro-style offense during Nutt's first two years in Oxford, led by Texas transfer Jevan Snead. In 2010, however, former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli transferred into the Rebels' program and ran a zone-read offense of sorts that he executed so successfully for two seasons in Eugene.

Stoudt is certainly not a run-first quarterback. In Iowa Western's bowl game, a 48-36 loss to Snow College, Stoudt passed for 440 yards and threw 76 passes.

"You always do what you're best at and what you're capable of doing," Stoudt said. "It would be dumb to put a running quarterback in a system where he didn't run. They'd like to get back to what they did in the past. Like any good coach, you use your strengths and if you have a quarterback who can throw the ball, you'll throw it a little bit more.

"They have talented wide receivers and tight ends and some backs. I think they'd like to get back to spreading the ball around and being a more balanced offense.

Stoudt, who began his college career at Louisville, will take final exams in Iowa this week and go through graduation ceremonies Saturday before returning home to Ohio on Sunday. The son of former NFL and USFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt will enroll at Ole Miss or Kansas in January and have two years of eligibility remaining. ranks Stoudt as the No. 45 junior college prospect in the country.

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