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April 28, 2011Later next month, Brandon Maye will continue his journey in college football and enter another BCS conference. After playing three years at Clemson, the 6-foot-2 and 240-pound middle linebacker will soon graduate from Clemson and then make his way to Starkville.
"I graduate on May 13th and I am pretty excited for the next step," said Maye, who posted career totals of 211 tackles, seven sacks and 19 tackles for loss at Clemson. "I know I will be at Mississippi State on June 1st and ready to go.
"What I am doing (transferring without having to sit out) has been done multiple times so I am not worried about the process. I plan to major in sports administration and I am just waiting on the NCAA now. They told me they are actually going back and forth on this rule. What they are looking to do is to allow people to transfer after they graduate without having to change majors if they choose to do so. So that is not a big deal for me."
With MSU losing three senior linebackers in Chris White, Emmanuel Gatling and K.J. Wright, the addition of Maye to the Bulldogs' linebacker corps is naturally a welcomed sight. But Maye quickly noted he isn't just coming to Starkville to be known as a football player.
"My mindset right now is that with just one season left, I have to seize every moment," said Maye. "I don't want to just be a guy who came through Mississippi State that didn't make an impact on and off the field. I want to make an impact in the community, in the locker room and it's not just about me being a football player.
"I am excited about this opportunity to be in Starkville. I am anxious to meet people and have a chance to talk to kids in local schools. That is something I've always been about. Knowledge is not any good if it is kept and not spread around. So Mississippi State is getting more than just a football player with me."
As far as the field goes, the former Clemson starting linebacker plans to continue his role as a starter and do that in the SEC.
"My mindset is also to compete for a starting job," said Maye. "I have been out of football since December so there will be some rust there. I just have to shorten that curve and I've already gotten into the playbook since school started to slow down. If you are playing the mike spot, you have to be able to run the show and make the calls. I have the playbook so I am getting all the audibles down and the shifts, too. I am trying to visualize those things so I can hit the field running. I don't want to waste any time this summer so I have been training constantly."
Of course, Maye's position mates got a jump on him this spring. But all of the MSU linebackers are learning under a new defensive coordinator - Chris Wilson - as well as a new position coach in Geoff Collins.
"That was one of the big selling points with Mississippi State," said Maye. "We are not learning a new system but we are playing under a new position coach and new defensive coordinator. The other guys are a step ahead of me because of spring practice. But football is football and I have to work harder than ever and not sit on the bench. My main focus is to help out our team anyway I can and spread knowledge to the younger guys on the team."
While Maye is confident in his abilities and owns a proven track record in the ACC, he added building that bond with his new teammates is also one of his top priorities. And that is something he's worked on already.
"That was a big thing for me," said Maye. "Having such a short time to get adjusted, I have to make sure I don't go into Mississippi State saying 'I did this or I did that as a starter in the ACC'. I am just here to help us be better as a defense. So I want to identify the true leaders on this team and I already sent out facebook requests so we can all get on the same page. We are gonna go out there and ball out in every practice and keep on developing as a group.
"And developing chemistry with the other linebackers has been easy because those guys reached out to me first. Brandon Wilson was my host on my visit and we've gotten to know each other well. And I already know Chris Hughes and have gotten to know Deontae Skinner. A lot of the younger guys have reached out to me so all of that has just been a blessing. And it makes me know I made the right decision to be a Bulldog."