Gardhigh didn't realize until his 11th grade season that he had a chance to be a highly recruited athlete. For many athletes, that wouldn't matter. But in Corey's case, he hadn't been putting forth the effort in the classroom that he was putting into sports.
"When I was in high school, I kind of slow poked around (academically)," said Gardhigh. "I was just doing enough to get by. I might do just enough to make a 70 or something like that. I was just focused on football, basketball and tennis."
That slow poking around during his 9th and 10th grades years caused him to focus on the books in a big way his last two years in high school. And, to his credit, he came up big.
"Around my 11th and 12th grade years, I started making A's and B's," said the 6-2, 208-pounder.
And those A's and B's were just enough for him to qualify academically and earn a scholarship offer from Mississippi State. So, on signing day, he inked a Letter of Intent with the Bulldogs. He was now going to be able to play in the SEC. Or was he?
After working hard to get his gpa and act to the necessary levels to qualify for college, he ran into a couple of snags. First, it took his high school a large part of the summer to get a grade of his sent to the NCAA Clearinghouse. Then, after the NCAA received the information, they took what seemed to Corey to be an eternity before they approved the class.
"It was a waiting process that wasn't due to me," said Gardhigh," it was a class that I took that wasn't in the NCAA Clearinghouse (database)."
And the process took its toll on him.
"When I first heard that I wasn't cleared, I was frustrated and got down," said Gardhigh. "I had gotten it in my mind that I wasn't going to be able to go to school. That was about two weeks after I graduated. I talked to my pastor about everything and he said God makes a way and it will come through your life. I got down, but I still worked out and did my running. "
And it finally did work out for him on the afternoon of August 8th when he received good news from his future position coach, MSU wide receiver coach Guy Holliday.
"Coach Holliday told me that I had cleared," said Gardhigh. "After he told me, I was grinning from ear to ear. I couldn't stop (grinning). I was able to go through a walk-through that day. I was running instead of walking."
Now the only waiting will come from the Mississippi State coaches and their fans who anxiously wait to see if this gifted athlete can help lead their program back to winning seasons and playing in bowl games.
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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.