Brent Schaeffer Arrives in Oxford

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

now."

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

touchdowns.

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

2005.

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

excitement.

"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.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)