Saturday night, I received a private message stating that St. Stanislaus noseguard/defensive tackle J.C. Brignone had committed to Mississippi State. Sunday morning, I called J.C. and told him about the rumor, then asked him if there was anything to it?
"No, sir, I'm not committed," said J.C., who was with his parents driving to Starkville to unofficially visit MSU when I called. "But, so far, Mississippi State really is at the top of my list, but I'm not making any drastic decisions until I know for a fact that I'm ready to be a Bulldog or I'm ready to be a Ragin' Cajun or whatever."
J.C. explained why MSU is atop his list.
"Mississippi State is a school that has a lot of what I want," he said. "I want to play SEC ball and I want to be a Civil Engineer. My father is a contractor, so I've been around it my entire life. It's kind of fitting all together."
While the rumor turned out to be a false one, does he have any intention of committing anytime soon?
"I'm actually thought about doing it before my season," said J.C., who has scholarship offers from MSU, Rice, Louisiana-Lafayette and is receiving letters from Tulane. "That way, I can go into my season knowing I can just play and not worry about scouts watching me play."
As for his unofficial visit, when he called me back, he talked about how it went.
"I got to check out the facilities in-depth and meet one of the coaches," said J.C. "Coach Beamer wasn't there because he is on his vacation. I met my workout coach (Jim Nowell). I really like him because he kind of reminds me of my high school coach because he is really enthused about working out. We walked the field and walked the practice field. The coach told us about the new Palmeiro Center. We checked out the short in-door (practice) field, the new weightroom, the old weightroom (in the Shira Fieldhouse)."
J.C. is a warrior in the weightroom, so one aspect of the room really impressed him.
"I really liked that they are getting a lot of platforms because I spend most of my time on the platforms doing cleans, militaries, deadlifts and squats," said the 280-pounder. "I also like how they have the weightroom kind of close together because everybody is working out together and there is no confusion."
Walking on the Mississippi State football field was also exciting for him. But football in general excites him.
"As soon as I hear the national anthem, I get goose bumps and I know that I'm ready to play," said J.C. "In fact, anytime I walk on the field I get goose bumps. I got goose bumps when I walked on the field at LSU, when I walked on the field at Ole Miss and when I walked on the field at Mississippi State. There is something about football that triggers me off."
Does he plan on visiting Mississippi State to take in a football game?
"I am going to come up for an unofficial visit to a game," said J.C. "I might come back up this summer and watch a workout because Coach Nowell wants me to."
He has a unique reason why he wants to watch the workout.
"(Coach Nowell) was talking about how some guys throw up during their workouts," said J.C. "That fires me up right there. I don't throw up. There's just something about me. I ate 24 tacos one time and didn't even feel it. I slept for about two hours, then worked out at a friend's house. It didn't even bother me."
When not working out or playing football, J.C. works full-time for his dad and even owns his own business. And he's only 17 years old.
"I have been working with my dad since I was 10," said J.C. "I go to work at 7:30 and supervise a seven-man crew. My dad does bids on jobs, so I have to supervise a crew. I pretty much work from 7:30 to 4:30 all week.
"I also have my own business, a pressure washing business," said J.C. "I do that with a friend of mine."
And it's not just a hobby type business. He does things any owner of a business has to do.
"I have to fire people," said J.C. "I have to give out money, go to the bank, go get materials, negotiate contracts. It's good experience for me."
After a full day working for his dad and running his own business, he then heads to his nightly workout with his team.
"I have a 30 minute break to get changed, then I go to my 5 o'clock workout and work until 6:30," said J.C. "Monday, I work out (with weights). Tuesday, we run. Wednesday, I work out and run on the beach. Thursday, I workout. Friday, I work my lower body and work on agility."
And, to top it off, he also has to maintain good grades or football is not an option.
"My father tells me student comes before athlete," said J.C., who took Physics AP last year and is taking Calculus AP this year. "If I don't have a 3.0 or above, I can't play football."
As you notice, J.C. mentions his dad a lot. That's because his dad is a man who he truly admires, not just because he is his dad, but because of the caliber person he is.
"My dad, who is from Uruguay, South America, came here when he was 24 and didn't know a word of English," said J.C. "Now, he owns his own business. I look up at him as if I could ever be like that, I would. I want to make it big enough (financially) so that he and my mom don't ever have to work again. I've seen how they have busted their behinds to send me to a school that costs $5,000 a year.
"It makes me feel good when my dad says he is proud of me. It makes me want to work harder to make him even more proud."
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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.