Football Player, Student, Husband, Now Dad

Mississippi State senior center J.C. Brignone has gone from been a student-athlete to a husband to a father over the course of the past couple of years. While the added responsibility has been an adjustment, he couldn't be happier with his life.

"It is a great feeling (being a father)," said J.C. Brignone. "It's kind of like a miracle, basically. (Our baby) has been such a blessing to us. I really can't stop thinking about her. She's been an amazing baby and done wonders for us."

Among those wonders has been an increase in his incentive to work even harder.

"Having a wife, period, caused me to try even harder so I can make it to the next level (of football) and help out more," said Brignone. "Now that I have a child, that give me even more incentive to work as hard as I can to do whatever I can for them."

Brignone's wife, Blair, has seen subtle changes in him since the birth of their baby a little over 4 months ago.

"He has a lot of responsibility on his back now," she said. "But he has always been very mature for his age, so there is really no difference in him other than him stepping up and being a father to Millie. And he has helped take care of her a lot."

According to J.C., it's a mutual effort on their part.

"It is a little more strenuous having another person to take care of but my wife has been great," said an appreciative Brignone. "She is doing her student teaching now so some nights we switch it up. Some days she has to go to school, mostly on Tuesday and Thursday, and I don't have class until 12:30 on those days, so me and the little one spend the night and morning together. The other half of the time she takes care of the baby."

It appears those Tuesdays and Thursdays may be the highlight of his week.

"We play together and have fun together," said Brignone of his time with Millie. "She kind of makes me feel like I'm small again. I love her to death."

And that love he has not only for his baby but also his wife has helped him contend with the daily pressures of everyday life.

"There are some hard things in life that you have to deal with, but when I get home and spend time on the couch with my wife and play with my daughter anything that has happened to me during the day all goes out the window," said Brignone with a smile.

Being a dad to Millie Lane has not only helped him deal with the pressures of life but it has also helped him become a better teammate, especially when it comes to the leadership aspect of being a football player.

"While I am a dad to my daughter, it's more like being a big brother and being there for my teammates just like I am for Millie Lane," said Brignone. "I have to be there for my little brothers. It's like what (fellow senior offensive lineman) Derek (Sherrod) and I were talking to (offensive line) Coach (John) Hevesy about, we have to be there and teach them the right things to do so they can come up and do the same thing when they reach the level we are."

Just like J.C. hopes will happen with his baby girl.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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