Rookies Join Varsity For Summer Work

That roster of Bulldogs spending their summers here on campus as part of the pre-pre-season workout program? It just got a whole lot longer, as nearly a score of Mississippi State's incoming freshmen have, well, they've just come-in for the school's July semester.

Mississippi State was supposed to greet 18 members of the freshman class of 2008 to campus with a team meeting, then put these new kids to work immediately Monday as part of the football program's summer program. These newcomers joined the active members of the varsity roster and 2007 redshirts, who today resumed their own workout schedule that began in June. No freshmen, other than the pair who were on campus in spring, was present for June.

The February signees who reported for today's start to the July semester are: OL John Paul Alford, WR Charles Bailey, DL Nick Bell, DB Corey Broomfield, WR Arceto Clark, TE Kendrick Cook, QB Terrance Davis, DL Sean Ferguson, OL Templeton Hardy, DL Joshua Jackson, Dl Devin Jones, DL Shane McCardell, DB Charles Mitchell, RB Tojo Patterson, WR Delmon Robinson, OL Tobias Smith, LB Bo Walters, and DB Louis Watson.

They join mid-year recruits LB Mike Hunt, TE Nelson Hurst, and WR O'Neal Wilder who enrolled in the 2008 spring semester at State and participated in all team practices and workouts, as did lone junior college recruit OT Phillip Freeman. Wilder has been a busy Dog the first half of summer with his obligations as a trackman, also.

Per NCAA and SEC rules, true freshmen newly-enrolled for fall are not available to media until August when actual football practices begin. Nor are State coaches allowed to discuss their status until pre-season camp opens as well.

February signees not enrolled for July as of Monday are punter Baker Swedenburg, linebackers Kirk Gainous and Antonio Hoskins, and defensive lineman Trevor Stigers. Also, WR Rashun Dixon passed on college by signing a professional baseball contract last month. His decision did open a summer slot though for a fellow frosh who might have waited to start college until 2009.

Swedenburg has no academic issues but has chosen to delay enrolling until January, what is popularly called ‘grayshirting' so his five-year college clock does not begin until 2009. Hoskins is also likely to come to State in January; by sitting out the fall on his own and gaining full eligibility, he will duplicate the route taken last school year by Mike Hunt and lose no time.

Stigers had planned to enroll for July with his cleared classmates, but the NCAA's certification office was still processing all his high school information. If not cleared by tomorrow, Stigers should be granted clearance in time for the fall semester. Apparantly Gainous was the freshman with the longest way to go eligibility-wise, but he also has hopes of being cleared for January enrollment. None of these delayed arrivals want to have to go the junior college route and thus lose at least one and more likely two seasons of senior college play.

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