Cleared Carpenter Watching Workouts

Alex Carpenter

He's already had to wait two whole weeks just to join the official Mississippi State roster. Now, Alex Carpenter has to endure five days in practice limbo serving the NCAA's mandatory ‘acclimation' period. Still the freshman wide receiver is not complaining.

"Finally I can concentrate on football," Carpenter said, heading out to, mostly, watch his first collegiate workout. Watch, because while the rest of the roster is in full gear this rookie is standing on the sideline in shorts, a green #89 jersey, and holding his helmet. Not until Monday will Carpenter be in full armor and full-speed. At least his catching-corps mates know Carpenter is there, some eager to see what the new kid can do…and hoping he will take a few practice snaps to rest their varsity legs.

Carpenter only arrived on campus Monday and formally checked-in Tuesday. "I've been working out back at home," he said. What this speed-position guy worked on might surprise some, though. "The main thing was trying to put on some weight. That's the main thing I need to do looking at these guys!" More surprising, Carpenter—who signed at 168 pounds and checked in at 180—wants to add even more.

"I've put on a few pounds, I want to get up to about 205. Mostly I've worked out, I run but if you do it too much you're going to run it right off!"

The biggest adjustment for Carpenter isn't going to be gaining weight but losing responsibilities. Playing in the smallest school division in the state, he was literally a do-it-all player for Biggersville High. "I've been a quarterback, running back, safety, receiver, kickoff, everything." Now he will be a receiver…though kick return can't be ruled out. Regardless, "It's a big difference from 1A football to D-1!"

It was a different situation for BHS as well, as the school is not used to working with the Clearinghouse's process for certifying players. Carpenter says he is the first football player from Biggersville to sign with a major college in football in "about 25 years.

"The last guy was Jeff Patton." Who, by coincidence, signed with Mississippi State and played fullback. "I don't know him, I've just heard about him." And Patton didn't have to deal with the Clearinghouse. Carpenter says his delays were a matter of paperwork provided by the school. Because he had been doing his duty for a full year.

"I've been going through this about a year now, because in the school year I had to work on the ACT every day. I took it about four times. I got that out of the way then ended up having to get cleared. I was hoping I could come on in but I had to get cleared by the NCAA first." It took longer than hoped but the clearance has come in and the practice gear, at least some of it, gone on.

"I finally got all that done."

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