By Laurence Hilliard
Four years after leading French Camp Academy to the MHSAA Class 1A State Football Championship, Jesse Hosket is hoping to have the same type of success at Southeast Missouri State when the season kicks off in September. Hosket was chosen as 1A player of the year by the Mississippi Association of Coaches when he ran and passed French Camp to the 2013 championship as quarterback.
Hosket was a starter in his first year at Southeast Missouri last fall, throwing for 2,332 yards and 11 touchdowns. But the Redhawks won only three games. He expects significant improvement this year.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we will do better. We’re way ahead of where we were last year offensively.
Last year, we couldn’t even have a spring game because that’s how far behind we were.”
After one season running the offense, Hosket received strong praise from Southeast Missouri head coach Tom Matukewicz. “Jesse is a once in a generation kid,” he said. “We also think Jesse is one of the best quarterbacks in the Football Championship Subdivision.”
Southeast Missouri is an FCS (formerly 1-AA) school competing in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Hosket played sparingly at the junior college level as a freshman at Itawamba Community College, then led East Central Community College to a Number 10 national ranking as a sophomore, throwing for 1,504 yards and 16 tds.
“I had a great time at East Central,”he said. “It was very family oriented.”
He only had a few college offers, which he attributes to having started only one year at the junior college level. One of those offers was from Southeast Missouri because East Central head coach Ken Karcher and Matukewicz are friends. He chose Southeast Missouri due to its location in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
“Those other schools were way out in Texas. I’m a homebody guy. Southeast is four-and-a-half hours (from French Camp). The Texas schools are like 15 or 16 hours. I wanted to be somewhere where my family could come and watch me play.”
Hosket hopes to run the ball more during his senior year, something he did often and with great effectiveness at French Camp. He didn’t run much at East Central because of a pro style offense. Last fall he ran for three touchdowns, but with sacks only netted 16 yards.
“I ran a lot in high school. I’m working hard to regain that so I can make some plays with my feet this year.”
Hosket hopes to get a shot at pro ball. “If we have a winning season, I’ll get that opportunity. It all comes back to winning football games. Everybody wants a winning quarterback.”
He certainly has the size to be a pro quarterback at 6-foot-4 and 221 pounds, the same size as NFL MVP Matt Ryan.
Hosket will graduate next spring with a major in construction management and design. “We’re the guys who manage projects.”
If pro ball does not work out, he plans to return to French Camp. “I love that place. You know everyone and get support from the community around you. It’s a very unique place.”