Coach Talk

Coach Talk

J' Mar Smith helped Meridian to a 10-4 record and an appearance in the 6A South State Finals. Some have speculated that the 6'1", 220-pound signal caller will end up at another position on the next level but not the Wildcats head coach.

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"He is a very good athlete with the size that you want," Meridian head coach Larry Weems said. "J'Mar is a 220-pound kid that is only 16-years old . I do not know how big he is going to get. Of course his dad was big but you do not know where it is going to end. He is a kid with some really..really outstanding physical gifts. He is a kid that can make all the throws and has the arm strength that gets the ball out there quicker than most high school quarterbacks can get it out there. He has played for us for two years and has improved every year. I think he will end up being an outstanding player for us next year."

What does J' Mar Smith need to work on the most this off season?

"Physically, I do not know how he can throw it any better. His percentage and consistency needs get better but his arm strength is there. We are not going to get it any stronger. It is already there. He can make all of the throws, but again, it is between the ears. He has the physical tools. It does not matter what level you are on, if you have the physical tools to play the position, what separates you from the rest of the guys is what is upstairs. Knowing why and why not. Knowing which reads to go on and shake it down and don't throw it where it should not be thrown. Those are the decision makings that you can not measure. Every good quarterback on any level has to protect the football. That is what you have to do. You can look at it on Sunday or look at it on Saturday. The coach will always say the same things. You have to protect the ball and be smart and you have to understand why you should or not do something. J' Mar tries I think a little too hard. He tries to make every play. You can't make every play so don't. Incomplete is ok, don't, because I do not call good plays every time. Don't. You can't make up for that, understand, just take care of the football. He has to understand this but J'Mar is getting there. He is getting better at it, and I think he is going to be a really...really good player on the next level and for us next season."


J' Mar Smith
Scout.com

Which colleges are showing the most interest?

"We do not talk about it, but I am telling you, in any given week you can go downstairs and check my mailbox. There is stuff from everybody. Going over the Mississippi schools obviously Mississippi State has already offered him. Coach Freeze, no one from Ole Miss has told me they have or have not. They have been by here a bunch of times, and they like him, but they have never told me if he does or does not have a scholarship. I know MSU has. I have not spoken with a coach from Southern Miss yet."

What does MSU like about Smith?

"They really did not say. I just visited with their coaches. They just said you know J' Mar has an offer. I do not really get into all of that stuff right there. I do not know what they see in the kid or do not see the kid."

Smith is also a touted baseball player and some project that he will get drafted pretty high in next year's draft. Has that hurt the scholarship offers from coming in?

"I do not know what it is to be honest. He's a 6' 1", 220-pound quarterback. Depending on what scheme you want in a quarterback. If he does not get any taller some schemes might not fit him. If you are in a drop back system like say at an Alabama over a MSU, they may feel like they want a taller guy who can hand the ball off and stay in the pocket. Now I am not going to say they are not going to offer J'Mar or anything like that. I know J' Mar has always been a big Alabama fan because his father played for the Tide, and they do have some interest in J' Mar as well, but Alabama might be looking for something different. I think in the end he is going to get a ton offers though. It is only a matter of time."

Weems had another star player, C.J. Hampton, sign with Ole Miss in December. This has given J' Mar a lot of additional exposure with various college programs and the chance for Larry Weems to get to know these college coaches better.

"They have been great. Every staff that has been here that I have gotten to meet in person has been great. I got to meet some people I had not met before. I got to meet coach (Bret) Bielema from Arkansas. I met their offensive coordinator and he was nice. Of course I already know all of the guys from Auburn. A bunch of their coaches have been recruiting this state for a while. I have known Ellis Johnson since he coached at MSU and Southern Miss. I have also known Melvin Smith (for Auburn) a long time since he was at State. I have been knowing J.B. Grimes since he coached with coach Croom for State. Of course I am an old guy so I have known these coaches for a long time. There have been some new guys that I have enjoyed getting to know. Coach (Nick) Saban (for Alabama) is one of them, and I had not met coach (Hugh) Freeze (at Ole Miss) until this fall. I enjoyed visiting with coach Freeze. I like to sit down and talk football all of the time anyway. They have all been super. Stanford came down as well. I have met so many guys. You have to remember that a lot of these programs were coming to see C.J. Hampton so that gave them a chance to get to know J' Mar. There are a lot of good coaches and a lot of good programs out there. We are fortunate to give these kids a lot of opportunities out there that are qualify situations for them."

J'Mar threw for 2, 565 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. He also rushed for 476 yards and 11 touchdowns.


Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at yporter@scout.com



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