Ole Miss' projected starting
quarterback reported to camp with his teammates Thursday, ending
month's of speculation that the talented junior-college transfer
might not be available to lead the Rebels offense this season.
Brent Schaeffer arrived in Oxford on Wednesday night and
attended orientation meetings with the rest of the team Thursday,
the first day of preseason practice.
The Associated Press reports:
"We're happy," Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron said in a phone
interview Thursday. "I'm shaking Brent Schaeffer's hand right
Schaeffer spent the summer in California finishing coursework at
College of the Sequoias. He said he was aware of the distant hubbub
surrounding his arrival in the state.
"I haven't been keeping up with it, but they're telling me
about it," Schaeffer said of the hand-wringing over his future.
"(The experience) is new. It's the first time for me."
Schaeffer has been in the Mississippi spotlight since Orgeron
won his signature on national signing day in February. The
second-year coach considered Schaeffer his No. 1 priority during
recruiting season and pronounced him the starter immediately.
Schaeffer brings a rare combination of attributes to Oxford. He
is a double threat with the ability to pass and run. He set 11
school records at College of the Sequoias, passing for 2,970 yards
and 40 touchdowns while running for 860 yards and another 10
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior also has experience in the
Southeastern Conference. He started three games for Tennessee in
2004, becoming the first true freshman to start a season-opener for
the Vols since 1945. But a broken collarbone ended his season and
he transferred to the College of the Sequoias in the spring of
Orgeron spent much of the summer patiently answering questions
about Schaeffer's status, assuring fans and reporters the
quarterback would qualify and enroll on time.
"We're excited about having Brent here," Orgeron said. "We
think he's a fantastic football player. He brings a lot of
"Now we're ready to play some football."
Players at Southern Miss also reported Thursday, meaning college
football is in full swing across Mississippi. Both teams will
practice for the first time Friday.
Mississippi State players reported Tuesday and have already
begun workouts. The Bulldogs play South Carolina in Starkville on
Aug. 31, the first day of the season.
The Golden Eagles open Sept. 2 at Florida and the Rebels open
the season Sept. 3 hosting Memphis.
Schaeffer said he has been studying the playbook this summer and
working with offensive coordinator Dan Werner by telephone. But
he's ready to put on a helmet and bring that playbook to life.
"A playbook a lot of times is only as good as the players on
the field," he said.