Former Liberty County High School quarterback Julian Stokes is back with the Panther football program as the new quarterbacks coach.
Stokes started playing football during his freshman year in high school for the junior-varsity squad. But injuries to then-starting quarterback Matt Desbiens forced Stokes to step up to the varsity team.
By midseason of his sophomore year, Stokes was the full-time starter.
Maxpreps.com lists stats going back to 2008, when Stokes was in his junior year under center. That season, he played in nine out of 10 games, going 51-of-110 passing for 661 yards and five touchdowns. He also had 95 carries for 439 yards and one touchdown.
Stokes led the Panthers to the state playoffs during his senior year in 2009. In the Panthers’ second trip to the state playoffs in school history, Stokes guided Liberty to a 16-13 overtime win over LaGrange in round one. Three years prior, LaGrange had knocked the Panthers out of the race in a 26-0 loss during their first playoff visit.
The Panthers’ playoff surge in 2009 ended with a 39-6 loss to Jackson High in the second round.
Stokes’ run during the senior year was the first time the Panthers won a first-round playoff game. That season, Stokes played in all 12 games, going 54-for-123 passing for 773 yards and four touchdowns. He had 152 carries for 816 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
Stokes went on to college, where he focused on completing his degree in middle-grade education with concentrations in math and science. Just a few weeks ago, Stokes graduated from Georgia State University, and Panther head coach Kirk Warner quickly snapped up the returning Stokes and put him to work redeveloping the current quarterback pool.
“Warner and (offensive coordinator Ryan) Glazer have been keeping in contact with me for the past couple months,” Stokes said. “They both figured they should have a guy with knowledge and plenty of experience and success at the position, so it was fitting to have me come back.”
Warner earlier said he was thrilled to have Stokes back with the Panthers. The coach added that Stokes understands the systems, knows how to win games and will be a big asset to the program for the upcoming season.
Stokes said Jaalon Frazier and Michael Moore both show promise at quarterback.
“Both are hard workers and willing to learn the position,” Stokes said. “They are not just out there for the sake of just being out on the field. They are there to better themselves and become the QB they can be.”
The Panthers just finished their first week of conditioning.