Michael Carr has been finally cleared to play college football.
The local three-star wide receiver from West Point High School that is supposed to compete for immediate playing time as a true freshman was notified Tuesday by the NCAA Eligibility Center officials that his paperwork had been approved.
“That's huge for us (that) two years in a row now, everybody that we've had a mathematical chance to get eligible, has gotten eligible,” Mullen said after Tuesday’s practice.
Mississippi State compliance office confirmed to the Starkville Daily News Tuesday that the NCAA’s Indianapolis office headquarters had approved Carr’s eligibility paperwork and the West Point product is fully able to practice and play in Division 1.
Carr had been able to practice with the MSU squad after being issued a temporary status as under NCAA rules, a scholarship player is allowed 14 days of preseason practice before the season starts before the NCAA must clear him.
Last season the West Point standout had 38 catches for 832 yards and 16 touchdowns last year while leading the Green Wave to a Class 5A state championship. Carr had four catches for 127 yards and one touchdown along with a kickoff return for a score in a 35-14 title game victory over Wayne County.
“You never really want to have to count on freshmen but he's very talented,” MSU wide receivers coach Mark Hudspeth said. "Now we've just got to bring him along as fast as we can and see if he can get to a point where early in the season that he feels comfortable to get in a game and execute."
Carr, who was not one of the members of the 2010 recruiting class that participated in summer workouts, has been given jersey number 86 and has had an up-and-down first two weeks of his college football career.
“He's picked it up but he's still going to be behind everybody else in that way,” Mullen said Tuesday. "He's improved and I think he did some work on his own to the point where it wasn't a huge shock."
Carr’s first 10 minutes of his first practice didn’t start well as he was the only player in the morning session to appear fatigued and even Mullen went to check on his three-star recruit.
“I told him not to worry,” Mullen said on Aug. 5. “He hasn’t gotten to go through the conditioning the rest of the team has. Physically we've got to be a little more careful with him out there on the field.”
Carr is looking to get put on the wide receiver depth chart that the coaching staff admits is lacking in quality bodies heading into the 2010 season with only three returning players at that position that recorded a catch last fall.
"It has nothing to do with athletic ability because Michael Carr, Robert Johnson, Jameon Lewis and even Malcolm Johnson are all very talented, they've shown they have the ability," Hudspeth said. "The thing that is totally different is they have to learn our system and it's so much more complicated than what they were doing in high school."
Mississippi State finished up two-a-day practices this Monday and will be off today as Mullen does a tour of ESPN headquarters. The Bulldogs head coach will be on numerous ESPN shows including a live appearance on College Football Live.