Billy Tapp (QB, St. Petersburg, FL) - Players go under the recruiting radar for many reasons. But rarely do you hear a prospect commit to a college due to their academic reputation. But that is exactly what attracted Billy Tapp to Columbia (NY), which is one of the more prestigious Ivy League colleges in the country."/>

Could the Rebels be adding a QB to the '05 class?

Billy Tapp

<a href="http://scout.[NETWORKDOMAIN]/a.z?s=177&p=8&cfg=null&c=1&nid=1781161"><b>Billy Tapp</b></a> (QB, St. Petersburg, FL) - Players go under the recruiting radar for many reasons. But rarely do you hear a prospect commit to a college due to their academic reputation. But that is exactly what attracted Billy Tapp to Columbia (NY), which is one of the more prestigious Ivy League colleges in the country.

Billy led St. Petersburg Catholic to its first state semifinal appearance this past season. Tapp passed for over 1,800 yards and was a Finalist for the Wendy's Heisman award. Shortly after finishing the season, Billy decided to further his career at Columbia because of the academic opportunities it presents itself. But after rethinking about playing football on the next level, Billy started to wonder what it would be like to play for a big time program.

Coach Mazzone informed Billy shortly after signing day that the Rebels were interested in adding a QB to their 2005 class. He asked Tapp to come in for an official visit and Billy agreed. Tapp brought his parents with him to Oxford on Sunday and left late this afternoon..

The following information was revealed during our interview with Billy Tapp:

What is your current height, weight, and forty time? "I am 6' 5", 215, and I run a 4.8 forty."

What are your strengths at quarterback? "My strongest part, or my biggest strength, is my arm strength. I have a real strong arm, but I understand when I need to put it in there hard or when to put touch on the ball. I read defenses pretty well, but that is the part that still needs working on the most. On the college level, they use so many different plays and their schemes are not what you are use to seeing on the high school level."

What other parts of your game need working on? "I definitely need to work on my speed and just overall strength. I pretty much need to work on everything, but those two things stand out to me them most."

What are you benching these days? "Around 225."

How long have you been starting for St. Petersburg Catholic? "Since my sophomore year. I took over the starting job half way through my sophomore year, so I guess for the past 2 1/2 years."

What were your stats from this past season? "I had a little over 1,800 yards and 14 throwing TD's. I think I had around 5 rushing TD's." (Editors note - Billy was 67-140 for 1,304 yards and 10 TD's as a junior).

Did you garner any awards for the 2004 campaign? "I did. I was a state Finalist for the Wendy's Heisman award. I was also our Team Captain."

How did St. Petersburg Catholic fare on the field this past year? "We went 9-2. We made it to the state (2A) semifinals for the first time in our school history. We went further than any team here, but we would have liked to finish the deal."

Did you take an official visit with Ole Miss the past two days? "Yes sir, I came yesterday and left late this afternoon."

When did Ole Miss start recruiting you? "Coach Mazzone was recruiting me while he was at North Carolina State. I went to his camp last summer. He called me right after signing day and talked to me about the opportunity to play at Ole Miss. He told me what happened to Chris Todd and said he was hopeful that I would come join his program."

Were there any other schools involved in your recruitment before you decided on Columbia? "Yea, I narrowed it down to basically the Ivy League schools. I took an official with Florida Atlantic and South Florida. Marshall was also involved too"

What did you learn about Ole Miss during your visit? "I knew quite a lot from talking to their coaches in the past, but I had never actually visited. It was great to sit down with all of their coaches at once, instead of just talking to them one on one on the phone. They made me feel real comfortable. I had a lot of fun watching the film with them and seeing how they are going to use their QB's. That got me pretty excited. I really liked their offense and how they plan to use their QB's."

Why have you not signed a scholarship with anyone up to this point? "Ivy League schools do not give out athletic scholarships,but I do have an academic scholarship. I am still committed to Columbia, but this trip has left me with a lot to think about."

What are the positives with both schools? "Being committed to Columbia, well, it is one of the best, if not the best, academic learning centers in the country. It would open a lot of doors for me. But football, being in the SEC, nothing matches up to that. An opportunity to go to Ole Miss is something I am really excited about."

What are the odds of you signing with Ole Miss? "I have not been there for long, but these past 24 hours have been informative, and I am heavily favoring signing with them. I will probably know in a couple of days for sure. I just need to sit down and talk it over with my parents."

Did your parents accompany you on your Ole Miss trip? "Yes sir, both of them."

What were their thoughts? "They liked it a lot. They are definitely impressed and feel pretty strong. We share the same interest."

What is your current GPA and ACT score? "I carry a 4.4 GPA and 1210 on the SAT."

What do you plan to major in? "Something in Business, probably accounting."

Did you get a chance to tour the Ole Miss Business school? "Yes sir, I sat down and talked to the head of their business school. He showed me their national ranking. I was definitely pleased with what I saw and heard."

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