September 30, 2009

Brignone leading on and off the field

If you met Mississippi State center J.C. Brignone off campus you might think you are talking to someone much older than a 21-year old junior.

Unlike the rest of his teammates, when a long day of classes and football practice is over Brignone returns to his home in The Highlands to his wife Blair, who is 31-weeks pregnant with their first child.

"It's funny to hear the coaches tell the guys that they don't have to worry about bills or anything but it's different for me," Brignone said. "I have stuff like that to worry about which I think makes it better for me. It really shows a responsibility on my part. I'm the center, the quarterback of the offensive line. I have the whole responsibility of getting everybody on pace. That does nothing but help me out off the field because I have responsibilities taking care of my wife and our newborn whenever she comes."

The Brignone's are both from the Mississippi Gulf Coast with J.C. (Juilo Cesar Brignone IV) hailing from Pass Christian and Blair from nearby Bay St. Louis and went to rival high schools. The two were married last year and are expecting a daughter, Millie Lane, to arrive on December 6.

But being a husband and future father are not the only things that helped mold the life of the 6-foot-1, 300-pounder. Brignone lost his home and most of his possessions during his senior year of high school when Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf Coast. He and his family were displaced to Lilburn, Ga., where he played his senior season.

Brignone was also dealt another two years ago blow when he found out his father passed away.

"A lot of people have said that I had to mature fast which was not my choice," Brignone said. "If I could go back I wouldn't change anything. I wish I could take back the loss of my father but that was God's choice. I think that is one thing that has helped me with everything in life. I see myself as an adult and I've been taking care of myself since I was 18 and I can take care of my wife and my kid."

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