Entering his senior year and third year as the Liberty High School Panther quarterback, Julian Stokes said this year will be full speed ahead.
"I want 1,000 yards rushing, 1,000 yards passing and a winning record," he said. "I don’t want to go out for my senior year with a losing record. I want to come out on top."
The returning starter said he was looking to turn the corner and better the Panthers’ 3-7 overall and 2-4 region 3-AAA record of last season. He is also searching for a little pay back.
"McIntosh, Washington County and Baldwin County, those are the three teams that shut us out last year and embarrassed us," he said when asked what teams he was anxious to play. "I worked hard in the weight room. I came to the two-a-days and conditioning. I just worked hard to get bigger, faster and stronger and be ready to compete against these other teams."
Quarterback coach Brian Griggs said there is a distinct difference in the way Stokes conducts himself on the field compared to earlier years.
"He is speaking out a lot more, getting more involved with his teammates," Griggs said. "There is nothing better than a third year starter. We want to make it comfortable for him to do what he does best, improvise and get the ball downfield like he does."
With experience under center and a grasp of the spread offense the Panthers switched to last season Griggs said Stokes will have leeway in calling plays.
"We are giving him some options to make those calls," the coach said. "They really weren’t in place last year because the offense was so new. This year, as we go on, more responsibility will be given to him. He will be doing a lot of play calling, making those hot reads and adjustments. And he is ready mentally. His mind on football."
The Panthers lost running backs Demetrius Stinson and Roderick Jones and while Stokes has the agility and quickness to cut loose and run the ball he said he is looking at two other players to fill the two gaps.
"This year I’m looking at Shadrach Thornton," Stokes said. "He’s an upcoming sophomore running back. He’s very strong, he has cutting abilities and he’s quick. And Mike Rodriguez is another running back who is quick, strong and has cutting abilities. Hopefully I can rely on these two guys to help me out this year."
Stokes has a purpose his senior year saying he hopes to get a Division I nod for college.
"But I’m also trying to get some attention for all of us here in Hinesville," Stokes said. "We have some talent here so if somebody steps up, gets some yards and gets some stats up we can get some looks down here, not only for me but for the other players as well."
He said prefers Georgia Tech, Georgia State or Morehouse College but said he is open for offers.