Bunkley good to go for the `Noles

After a tumultuous off-season for Garnet and Gold defense that lost rising junior defensive tackle Clifton Dickson declared academically ineligible for the 2005 season and pre-season all-American cornerback Antonio Cromartie because of a knee injury, head coach Bobby Bowden and the rest of the Seminole football program received some great news Monday evening.

Brodrick Bunkley – the Seminoles' only returning starter on the defensive line from a season ago – was cleared to join his teammates at fall practice. He was one of only a few players that was not present at summer workouts and had been missing from the team when preseason camp began last week. Despite the fact he has been cleared to participate in practice, the Tampa native's playing status for the upcoming season will remain on hold until final grades are actually posted.

"Brodrick Bunkley has been cleared to practice," Bowden said. "We will have to wait for all the grades to be posted which could be another two weeks. Really, nobody has had their final grades posted so he is in that very same category, but he has been cleared to practice."

The addition of Bunkley, who started in seven games last season and registered one sack, 12 total tackles and three tackles for loss, will help bolster a young defensive line looking for leadership. So far this fall, defensive line coach Odell Haggins has had to rely on several youngsters to contribute to the interior line alongside redshirt sophomore Andre Fluellen.

Freshman Emmanuel Dunbar had been holding down the fort as the first team noseguard but he has been forced to miss the past two practices with an undisclosed back ailment. His absence left redshirt freshman Aaron Jones and true freshmen Kendrick Stewart and Letroy Guion as the only remaining scholarship defensive tackles on the roster.

Needless to say, Bunkley's return couldn't come at a more opportune time.

"It will be good to have him back out at practice because we are so thin at that position," Bowden said. "I've really been impressed with these young defensive tackles that have been getting some work, but they are totally inexperienced. They are good athletes that have a lot to learn. Bunkley brings you three years of experience."

Since weather prevented the team from heading outdoors for the second part of Monday's two-a-days, Bunkley will get the chance to be with his teammates on the practice fields for the first time tomorrow morning at 9:45.

"I'm glad to be back here with the guys and I'm looking forward to getting outside to practice which looks like it will be tomorrow. I have been working out on my own and have stayed in pretty good shape but I need to get out there on the field and get some work in the heat."


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