Josh Greer had a lot on the line this season. If he performed well in his only season at Navarro College, the sophomore quarterback could land a Division I scholarship.
Four games into the season, Greer was right on target and garnering notice across the country. He was completing 64 percent of his passes and had only a single interception in 95 attempts while tossing seven touchdowns.
And then on the next-to-last series against Kilgore in Week 4, Greer was hit from behind and fell on his right side, breaking his collarbone and landing him on the sidelines for the next six weeks.
Greer never brooded about his misfortune. He was in every meeting, at every practice and always providing aid to understudy Carson Earp.
“We were 4-0 and I knew we were going to be No. 1 after (the Kilgore win),” Greer said. “And then I get hurt and we lose our next two games. That was a rough time.
“Fortunately, (Earp) and I are really good friends off the field, too. I gave him pointers here and there, occasionally telling him which person to read in certain situations. I was glad to help any way I could.”
Greer returned for the SWJCFC championship game, passing for 254 yards and two touchdowns in relief of Earp.
Now he gets one more chance to show Division I coaches just how good a quarterback he has become since his freshman season at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Greer will get the start on Saturday at noon when the No. 16 Bulldogs face off with No. 14 Hinds (Miss.) CC in the Brazos Valley Bowl at Merrill Green Stadium in Bryan.
“I want to leave on a good note,” Greer said. “I put pressure on myself to play the best I can. But I try not to overthink things. I just take what is there and try not to overthink.”
With one of the best receiving corps in the nation, Greer doesn’t have to overthink. He’s got the fleet Devin Lauderdale, the consummate possession receiver in Austin Collins and former quarterback Alex Austin. And then there’s lanky 6-5 receiver Markel Steward-Gillespie.
“When I know there’s a deep route, I feel confident that Devin can go get it because he’s a real burner,” Greer said. “We’ve got so many receivers with different skill sets. It’s a great group of receivers. We’ve got everything.”
Greer wants to make full use of that corps against Hinds in his last chance to impress. He’s already got offers from Georgia State and Florida International University, but the University of North Texas has shown continued interest this season. Greer plans to visit FIU on Dec. 10 and Georgia State on Dec. 13.
“This is my last chance to make an impression and I’m going to make the best of it,” he said. “I’m excited about the opportunity and I’m just glad to be back on the field.”
Navarro vs. Hinds, Miss CC
Brazos Valley Bowl
Saturday, Noon, Merrill Green Stadium, Bryan
RECORDS: No. 16-ranked Navarro (8-3)) and Hinds, Miss (7-2)
RECENT HISTORY: This is the first meeting between Hinds and Navarro. The Bulldogs tied Jones County, Miss. 20-20 in the 1973 Shrine Bowl and defeated Mississippi Gulf Coast 27-26 in the 2009 Heart of Texas Bowl.
KEY PLAYERS: Navarro: OL Carter Wall, QB Josh Greer, RB Tim Wright, RB Cameron Washington, LB Dominique Kelly, WR Markel Steward-Gillespie, OL Tim Hines, DE Desmond Owino, DL Kerry Holiday, DL John Williams, CB Sherman Gilbert, S Aaron Shaw, S Alex Miller, LB Chrishard Buhl, WR Devin Lauderdale, WR Austin Collins, WR Alex Allen. Hinds: QB James Summers, OL Thomas Collins, DB Kenya Dennis, K Joseph Houston, OL Norman Price, WR Robert Lockhart, WR Keithon Redding, LB Herbert Harris, DL Michael Ross, OL Kirby Wixson, S LeDarion Robinson, RB Darryan Ragsdale.
GAME NOTES: Hinds won its last five games of the season, but has not played since Oct. 24 . . . Navarro and Hinds share a link to former NFL player Mark Smith, who played his freshman season with the Bulldogs and then played his sophomore year at Hinds . . . Harris leads Hinds with 104 tackles this season, including 63 solo stops. Hinds’ defense was ranked No. 1 among Mississippi schools this season, allowed 17.1 points per game . . . Summers is a dual threat at quarterback, having accounted for 12 TDs and 1,401 yards through the air and 572 yards and 12 scores on the ground. He has been picked off 11 times this season . . . OLs Collins (Southern Mississippi), Price (Mississippi State) and Wixson (Louisiana Tech) have garnered Division I offers. Dennis has committed to Missouri and Lockhart will play at Nebraska next season . . . Hinds Coach Gene Murphy is the active winningest coach in NJCAA football with 155 victories. Murphy has coached 46 NFL players and 37 NJCAA All-Americans in his 19 seasons as coach, leading the Eagles to 15 MACJC playoff appearances and six state championships . . . Greer will be making his first start since the fourth game of the season when he broke his right collarbone. After leading Navarro to a 4-0 start and No. 1 ranking, Greer sat out for six weeks. He came on in relief of QB Carson Earp in the SWJCFC title game, passing for 254 yards and 2 TDs . . . The game was originally scheduled for Kyle Field, but $46 million in renovations to the stadium pushed the game to Merrill Green Stadium in Bryan . . . The game can be watched at http://www.njcaatv.com/bowlgames . . . Kilgore lost to Northwest Mississippi 46-36 last season in the inaugural Brazos Valley Bowl . . . Gametime temperature is expected to be about freezing with a 50 percent chance for rain or freezing rain.
— Rob Ludwig