By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss quarterback Barry Brunetti was granted a waiver by the NCAA on Monday, clearing the way for the West Virginia transfer to compete for the Rebels in 2011.
Brunetti, a Memphis native, had asked the NCAA to excuse him from its requirement that all transfers establish residency for a year at their new schools before beginning competition.
In his request, Brunetti told the NCAA his transfer was based on his desire to be closer to home for his mother, Elna Brunetti, who has experienced lingering complications from a 2002 automobile accident.
The announcement means Brunetti, a sophomore, can approach August camp as a legitimate contender for the starting a job.
“I was at home with my mother for Easter. We talked about it a lot, and she told me to just stay positive,” Brunetti said. “I was expecting a decision around mid-May, but I guess God heard us, and we got it today. I am thankful and blessed.”
With Brunetti in the fold the Rebels have three scholarship quarterbacks, joining Randall Mackey and junior college transfer Zack Stoudt in a race that Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt hopes will conclude not too long into camp. The spring race consisted of four competitors until junior Nathan Stanley announced his intention to transfer.
Brunetti is the only quarterback on the roster to have taken Division 1 snaps, and he hasn’t taken many. Last year at West Virginia he completed 4 of 9 passes for 6 yards and rushed once for 4 yards.
A dual threat quarterback as is Mackey, Brunetti was a Parade and U.S. Army All-American in high school, leading Memphis University School to back-to-back state championships in 2008 and 2009.
At the conclusion of spring drills, Nutt said Mackey had a slight edge on Brunetti and Stoudt, who performed better as the spring went on.
Brunetti said he got the news shortly after leaving a Monday morning class when he received an email from David Wells, the school’s associate AD for compliance, asking him to call when possible.
“I was hoping and praying it was good news, and when I called him it was good news,” Brunetti said.
Contact Parrish Alford at 678-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.