Player Profiles: Jason and Julius McNair
Julius and Jason McNair have been playing football together for 18 years. From the time they could play peewee football to college, they have always played together.
"When you play that long together, you're connected, and you know how he plays and what he is (Jason) going to do," said Julius who plays safety.
Jason, who plays running back, agrees. Even though they play on different sides of the ball, they know each other's game. Before coming to UTM, both were well-known on and off the field at Mt. Olive High School. Jason set the Mississippi High School career record for most touchdowns with 120 and scored 36 of those his senior year.
Julius threw for 2,253 yards and 24 touchdowns his senior year. He was also voted Mr. Mt. Olive High School by his peers. The list goes on and on for what these two players have accomplished in their high school and college careers.
In 2008, both cousins received full scholarships to UTM. In 2009, Julius played in 10 games and recorded five tackles, and Jason played in nine games and was named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer team.
The following year, their stats started improving. Jason started in seven and played in eleven games, and then led the team in rushing with 125 carries for 547 yards. Julius played in all 11 games, playing both offense and defense. He rushed 21 times for 88 yards. He recorded a season-best with four tackles against Southeast Missouri State.
During this past year's season, Julius was moved to linebacker and Jason was still a running back.
Jason had quite the season. He was named Phil Steele's 2011 Preseason All-OVC second team and was also named Sports Madness OVC Player of the Week. He rushed 166 times for 782 yards and a season-best of 170 all-purpose yards against Jacksonville State.
Julius recorded 53 total tackles, 30 unassisted, and 23 assisted. His season-best was nine tackles, eight unassisted tackles, and a blocked kick against Eastern Kentucky. The McNair cousins are huge assets to the Skyhawk football team, and Coach Jason Simpson agrees with this.
"Julius and Jason have big assets to our program over the past five years. They have contributed to our community and our team in a positive way. They are outstanding young people," Simpson said.
This year, Julius and Jason keep raising the bar. Although the season hasn't ended yet, they both have had some pretty great moments and games. Both agreed that beating Memphis was their best moment of the year.
Julius said that his best was against Murray State where he had 13 tackles. Jason said that his best moment was a punt return in the victory over Eastern Illinois.
Like most football players, the cousins have pregame rituals. Julius eats a lot of candy and prays four times. Jason only lets Julius strap up his pads. Jason said, "He has done it for 18 years."
Football runs in the McNair family. Julius is the cousin and Jason is the nephew of the late Steve McNair, a former NFL quarterback who played for the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens.
Both Julius and Jason would consider pursuing a professional football career like their cousin and uncle.
"If the opportunity presents itself and if it is God's will," Julius said.
As of right now, Jason will be graduating in December with a degree in Human Health and Performance. Julius will be graduating in May with a degree in Computer Science.
After the season, they will continue to train. Julius wants to get a graduate assistant job with the football team, and Jason is going to continue training for football and possibly baseball.
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