Snead to enter NFL draft

Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead will forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

"After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to forgo my final year at Ole Miss and enter the NFL draft," Snead said, thanking the school's coaches, fans and his teammates. "In the end, I had to do what is best for me and my family. Having finished my degree, I look forward to the challenge and hard work that comes with pursuing my dream of playing quarterback in the NFL."

Snead threw for 2,632 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior for the Rebels, who beat Oklahoma State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

With Snead at quarterback, the Rebels won nine games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1961-62, and collected consecutive January bowl wins for the first time since 1960-61.

Coach Houston Nutt said he tried to convince Snead into staying for one more year, to no avail.

"I'm sure the fact that he has already finished his degree played a role in his decision, and I do respect his decision," Nutt said. "He is a young man of great character and Jevan will always be a member of the Ole Miss family."

Snead passed for 5,394 yards at Ole Miss, the second-best two-year total and fifth on the school's career list. He set records for yards per pass attempt (8.0) and completions (14.4), established a new mark with multiple touchdown passes in eight straight games and is second to Eli Manning on the career touchdown passes list with 46.

Freshmen Nathan Stanley and Raymond Cotton are expected to battle for the Rebels' vacant quarterback spot when spring practice begins.

ESPN.com college football reporter Chris Low and the Associated Press contributed to this report.