Muskogee quarterback Jamarian Ficklin has exploded onto recruiters’ radars this season thanks to a superb sophomore season.
For good reason, too. Through nine games, the 6-1, 180-pound lefty has completed 66% of his passes for 2,185 yards and 35 touchdowns while leading the Roughers to a spotless 9-0 record.
Ficklin and the Roughers are reaping the benefits now after Ficklin was thrown into the fire last season and started as a freshman. Muskogee finished 2-8 but Ficklin gained some valuable experience.
“It’s something you don’t really want to do, especially in 6A football,” said Hill of starting a freshman at quarterback. “The game has slowed down for him so much this year. I think he understands it a lot more now. The maturity process and the game slowing down for him are the two biggest reasons for his success.”
“Being out there as a freshman, I didn’t really understand how fast the game would be,” admitted Ficklin. “I’ve really adapted to the speed of the game, making my reads, and running the offense. Last year we were really basic on offense, but this year we’ve added some new things.”
Ficklin is fortunate to have a lot of offensive weapons at his disposal. Four different receivers (Kayden McGee, Ondraye Beasley, Anthony Watson and Jayden Bell) have 25 or more catches and three running backs (LaTavion Johnson, Beasley, and Bacari Tolbert) have 350-plus yards on the ground.
“We’re fortunate that you can’t key on one guy,” claimed Hill. “We have six or seven very explosive athletes to go along with an adequate offensive line that’s continuing to improve each week. I’d hate to have to defend us.”
“It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders because I know they’re going to be in the right position at the right time when I need them to be there.,” said Ficklin of his offensive teammates. “It really helps me in the long run as we progress through the season because they’ve become a lot better as I’ve grown as a quarterback.”
Ficklin’s maturity on the field is pretty evident. His actions off the field are commendable as well. He and his teammates visit and read to grade school kids and volunteer at flag football games.
“Most people think leadership is telling other people what to do and I think he’s figured out that it means being a servant, and that’s the way he perceives himself,” stated Hill. “He’s a 3.8 student. He’s excellent in the community. Any time we have community service, he’s involved. He understands leadership better than most.”
“When I was one of those younger kids, I remember the Roughers coming down and talking to me and it uplifted me,” recalled Ficklin. “Being able to talk to a high school player, it really helped me. Sometimes you can get off track in school. Visiting schools and working with the little kids is one of my passions.”
Muskogee wraps up its regular season this week with a big showdown versus Stillwater with the 6A-II District 1 title on the line. The Pioneers are also unbeaten at 9-0 and ranked #1 in Class 6A-II according to Prep Redzone Oklahoma. Muskogee is ranked third.
“We love the idea that we get to entertain this and two teams 9-0 get to come together,” said Hill. “We’re expecting to go out there and play hard and match the mentality of what they’re going to try to do to us and see if we can’t match up and have some success. We feel like it’ll be a good football game.”