Two-time Juco All-American Cleared to Play

STARKVILLE, Miss. ­- Mississippi State head football coach Sylvester Croom announced Friday that junior college transfer defensive back Brian Staley's eligibility had been cleared to play for the Bulldogs in 2004.

A native of Aiken, S.C., Brian Staley was a two-time junior college all-America cornerback at Georgia Military College in 2001 and '02. He originally signed with Clemson following that '02 season, but remained at GMC this past year to achieve the academic requirements for a Division I transfer.

Considered one of the top junior college cornerback prospects in the country by most recruiting services, Staley had 19 pass interceptions during his junior college career, returning nine of those for touchdowns. His 10 pass thefts during his sophomore year led the nation, as did his nine a year earlier. Staley had 26 interceptions as a high school standout in Aiken.

The acclimation process to Croom¹s football program continued Friday for the 2004 Bulldog team. Equipment issue and physicals consumed most of the early morning agenda, with position meetings, special team orientation, and individual unit sessions filling the early afternoon schedule. More team meetings culminated the day's work following dinner.

The highlight of the day, however, was the conditioning run executed by head strength and conditioning coach Jim Nowell and his staff. And the results of the 45-minute series of runs drew the head coach's praise.

"There is no question that we are in better shape now than we were in the spring," Croom said. "We're not necessarily in football shape. That will take getting on the practice field to determine. But it is apparent that the players have put in the time, effort and hard work to come back in much better condition than when they left here. Coach Nowell and his group have done a great job."

State will hit the practice fields behind the Shira Athletic Complex for the first time Saturday morning. All practices are closed to the general public.

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