Brady moving to the next level

Published 4:23 pm Thursday, May 31, 2007

Picayune’s James Brady is getting his first taste of collegiate football this week.

Well, sort of.

Brady, the former Picayune High standout, is squaring off against some of the best football players in the state of Mississippi during practice this week as he and his teammates prepare to meet Alabama in the 20th annual Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Football Classic Saturday.

The offensive lineman, a Southern Mississippi signee, is glad to be getting his first taste of the gridiron on the next level.

“This should be a real good way to help me transition to playing college football,” the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Brady said. Brady started for two years at tackle for the Maroon Tide but is playing guard this week and is expected to be a guard or a center for USM.

“This is a very big honor for me, to be picked to represent the state of Mississippi in this game,” Brady added. “Growing up, I always wanted to play in this game but didn’t really ever think about what my chances were. This is huge for me, and I’m glad I can represent Picayune and our program.”

The game is set for 7 p.m., Saturday night at historic Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which also plays host annually to the Senior Bowl and GMAC Bowl.

Alabama leads the series 13-6, including a 24-3 decision in last year’s game.

Tickets are still available and a crowd of around 12,000 is expected.

“We haven’t really talked about last year, but you always want to win every time you step on the field,” Brady said, after Tuesday afternoon’s practice at UMS-Wright Stadium in this Port City.

Brady is one of five USM signees in the game, and he is enjoying getting to know his fellow all-stars.

“I’ve got some future teammates here and that’s nice being able to get to know them this week,” the son of Danny and Elveina Brady said. “Plus there are a lot of other guys here that I could be playing against in the future, so it’s good to get a feeling about what that might be like also.”

Brady said he wasn’t sure what the future would hold for him on the college level, but if his prep career is any indication the Golden Eagles will be getting a solid player. Brady was the lone senior on a Maroon Tide offensive line last season that paved the way for junior tailback Albert Richard to run for over 2,000 yards and score over 30 touchdowns as Picayune went 11-1. “The way I look at it, is that I am here because of what we were able to do as a team last season,” Brady said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and my coaches.”