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Monday, April 25, 2011
Brunetti cleared to play this fall

By Edward Aschoff

Shortly after transfer quarterback Barry Brunetti announced via Twitter that the NCAA had granted him immediate eligibility, Ole Miss confirmed the NCAA’s decision.

This means the Rebels have probably their most dynamic quarterback eligible to play this fall. It also helps with numbers at the quarterback position since senior Nathan Stanley left during the last week of spring practice.

Here's what Brunetti tweeted from his account (@beau_11): “I am #blessed to say that the NCAA has cleared me to play this year…God is Good..thankyul. #Hottytoddy”

Brunetti, a sophomore, transferred from West Virginia in January after complications his mother suffered because of a car accident made the Memphis, Tenn., native want to move closer to home.

This spring, Brunetti was one of the most impressive players for the Rebels during practice. Competing with junior Randall Mackey, who left spring with a slight lead in the quarterback race, and junior college transfer Zack Stoudt, Brunetti showcased arguably the best combination of mobility and passing ability of the quarterbacks.

Offensive coordinator David Lee raved about Brunetti’s progress this spring and is excited about Brunetti’s potential at Ole Miss.

“This is another kid that can run and throw,” Lee said. “I’m talking about physical, strong runner. This guy is thick.”

Even dating back to his high school days at Memphis University School, Brunetti was known more for his footwork than his arm, but displayed nice passing skills as well this spring.

During Ole Miss’ spring game, he was 12-of-21 for 211 yards and two touchdowns, including a 90-yard score in the second quarter.

What Brunetti also brings to Ole Miss’ quarterback position is experience against Football Bowl Subdivision teams. He played in four games with the Mountaineers in 2010, completing 4 of 9 passes for 6 yards. He also rushed once for 4 yards.

It wasn’t significant time, but it was more than either Mackey or Stoudt had last year. Mackey redshirted in 2010 after transferring from East Mississippi Community College, while Stoudt arrived at Ole Miss this spring.

Mackey might have the edge right now, but Brunetti might be the most physically gifted of the Rebels’ quarterbacks. Now that Brunetti’s eligible to play, this fall’s quarterback race in Oxford, Miss., just got a little more exciting.

I’m hoping to get in touch with Brunetti later this afternoon to get his reaction to being able to play this fall.