MSU Players' Updates

Mississippi State went through their first training camp practice Saturday morning. We caught up with Brett Wilcutt, Brian Staley and Derek Ambrose to see how things are going. And in the case of Ambrose and Staley, how they wound up playing football for Mississippi State.

Redshirt freshman safety Brett Wilcutt

Talk about your move from quarterback to safety.
"I did it after spring. Coach Croom talked to me about it and said that I had an opportunity to help out some on the defensive side of the ball. It has been a very smooth transition. I played free safety in high school. Darren Williams and Jeramie Johnson have made it real easy for me. They kind of helped coached me when we were doing one-on-ones. I also got some tapes from Coach (Ellis) Johnson. And Coach (Amos) Jones has been real upbeat helping out with the special teams. It was a good decision for me and I'm looking forward to it."

How did the summer go for you?
"I've been here all summer long and the team worked hard. We are all ready to get out there and get started. I'm ready to get out there and see how I can do on that side of the ball. It's been a couple of years since I have been there, but I'm looking forward to it."

What are your hopes this year?
"I would like to make the travel squad and help out where I can on special teams. And if there is a call to help out some on defense, I'm going to be ready. I will know the schemes and know the plays and I'll be able to step out there and do it."

Juco transfer safety Derek Ambrose

Talk about how you wound up at Mississippi State.
"I went to Co-Lin and got injured early. Then, I sat out this past year while going to a junior college in New Orleans and working out. I went back to Co-Lin this summer to get my associate degree and I talked to (head football) Coach (Glenn) Davis. He knew that I was trying to walk on at LSU and told me if it didn't work out there, he would see if they would give me a shot here. He went ahead and talked to Coach (Croom) for me anyway. After he did that for me, I decided to come over here anyway. I talked to Coach Croom and he wanted to have a meeting with me and my parents. He said the meeting went well, so he's giving me a trial."

Are you playing free or strong safety?
"I'm at strong right now."

What is your height, weight and 40 speed?
"About 6-1, 203 to 205 range and my top speed was a 4.3."

Juco transfer cornerback Brian Staley

You were highly recruited your second year at Georgia Military and wound up signing with Clemson in February, 2003, but you were short on your academics and didn't go to Clemson. What happen from there?
"I signed with Clemson. I was going there but had a few academic problems and had to take a class here, and a class here. I finally got my academics settled but I found out that they had released me, so I sat out a year while taking some classes at (Georgia Military College). I called Coach Jim Tompkins and he said to come on down. I called him this week. As a matter of fact, this all started Wednesday afternoon. I flew in here Wednesday and had to get my transcripts. We didn't get that in time, so I had to wait until Friday when everything came in. I finally became a Bulldog after that."

What was your thought process from Wednesday until Friday while waiting for everything to be complete?
"At first, I didn't think I was going to get in. I thought everything wasn't going to get here in time. My thought was I'm all the way here in Mississippi and might have to go back home. That would be another $499 to get back home. My mom was boggled about everything."

How does it feel now that everything is good to go and you are back on the football field?
"Everything feels good. My dream came true. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do exactly what I wanted to do but I'm here and I'm going to make the best of my situation now."

Were you heavily recruited coming out of high school?
"Heavily. I had Florida, Florida State, Tennessee...just about every SEC and Big Twelve team."

Was it the same coming out of junior college?
"Yeah, it was the same way out of junior college."

You seem to have such a knack for intercepting passes. What do you have that others may not have?
"I have a knack for the ball. I guess it is instinct. I feel like everytime the ball is in the air, it's my ball."

What is your true 40 speed?
"My true speed is probably a 4.45. I ran a 4.3 before I sat out. So, I'm trying to get that back and trying to get back in shape."

Did any receiver beat you for a touchdown in junior college?
"I had one guy. I can't remember his name but he was from Troy State. I hated it. I was going to walk off the field after it happened (laugh)."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by email at

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