After a freshman season where he passed for 2328 yards and 18 touchdowns, news about the talents of Jamarian Ficklin began to spread. Now, with a fast start to the 2022 campaign including 15 scoring strikes with 1139 yards while completing 68-percent of his passing attempts during the first four games, everybody knows that Byrd is the word.
“When I was born I was really small, skinny legs and skinny body. My dad (Justin) said I looked like a bird so he called me that and it stuck,” explained the Muskogee quarterback that recently turned 16 years old. “Dad wanted to spell it different because he saw something special in me. He wanted me to be different.”
His father’s premonition for success is coming front and center for the Roughers sophomore field general.
“No matter the result of a play, you get the same reaction,” said Travis Hill, head coach of the Roughers.
“Jamarian plays at a even keel and keeps things in the proper perspective.”
A true student of the game, Ficklin is constantly watching football games at every level trying to improve his abilities.
“I don’t just watch quarterbacks, I’m inspecting the defense, how the linebackers, corners and safeties react to the situation and plays that are called,” Ficklin confirmed. “I watch videos of Michael Vick, my favorite player. He’s left-handed like me. When I watch quarterbacks, I’m looking at footwork, the wrist flick and release of the football as well as what they do to improvise, scramble and still make the play.”
The maneuverability and multi-release points make the southpaw quarterback a challenge for opponents to keep in the pocket. “His vision is a plus which makes his read progression more effective,” said Hill.
Ficklin welcomes the opportunity to be the player his teammates can rely upon.
“I’m not the talking kind of leader. I try to show you by my actions. Being a leader is not just controlling people. It’s more about helping others grow and becoming better people as well as players,” Ficklin said with confidence noting his need for support and guidance from teammates.
“Jayden (Bell) and Kayden (McGee) push me to be better. They’ll get in my space when I do something that’s not good. They won’t hesitate to light my fire. We have a mutual respect for holding each other accountable. We know that we expect each other to keep us in line, pushing hard to be the best we can be, on and off the field.”
Where the final flight for “that guy wearing the number-1 jersey” and his Muskogee teammates will land at season’s end in the class 6A-II playoffs remains to be determined. But with Jamarian Ficklin at the controls the future is bright.