By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – After a brief trip home, Xavier Grindle was back on the Mississippi State practice field Sunday.
The freshman defensive back from Columbia left Starkville on Friday morning, and a television report said he was planning to sign with Pearl River Community College, which is about 45 minutes from Grindle’s home.
He returned Saturday and is practicing with the team again, MSU coach Dan Mullen said Sunday.
Mullen said Grindle was simply “homesick,” and after Grindle’s mother spoke with him Friday night, she drove him back to Starkville the next day.
“We’re obviously going to guide kids, but that’s kind of something with more the family,” Mullen said. “When it’s not a football or school or any of that issue – because the first question I asked was, are you unhappy? And he’s like, no.”
A report Sunday by WDAM, a station in Hattiesburg, said that an MSU assistant contacted Pearl River coach Tim Hatten, asking him on behalf of Mullen that he not contact Grindle.
Mullen said he never spoke with any of the Pearl River staff.
“My first discussion on it was (Grindle) coming in and apologizing for leaving,” Mullen said.
Grindle also had to apologize to his teammates, but Mullen waved off a question about any further discipline.
“It wasn’t like he stormed out or it was a big discipline issue,” he said. “A young guy, all these freshmen, I see it with all of them. We’re always on constant high alert to watch and see who the next midnight runner is.”
Grindle starred at East Marion, where he rushed for 2,103 yards and 18 touchdowns last season at running back. He had seven interceptions on defense.