STARKVILLE • No freshman on Mississippi State’s roster took advantage of the new redshirt rule better than Aaron Brule did last year.
Brule was the only true freshman to appear in four games for the Bulldogs last season and still maintain four full years of eligibility entering 2019. He saw action – mostly on special teams – against Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana, Auburn and the Outback Bowl against Iowa.
“Anything in an SEC game is going to get your mind right about the future,” Brule said. “Playing on special teams during those four games really helped me out a lot to get used to the physicality and stuff like that.”
Brule recorded one tackle and played a pivotal role on special teams during the Outback Bowl, snagging a shanked punt to give MSU the ball in Iowa territory at the 47-yard line that led to a first quarter field goal.
Early playing time and a year of development on the practice field and in the weight room has helped Brule improve his overall game, especially being recruited as a safety and being converted into a linebacker.
“I believe I developed a lot,” Brule said. “I put on about 20 or 25 pounds and have just kept on gaining from there. In my first year, I definitely had a lot of stutters in my steps but now I’m moving much faster.”
The 6-foot-1, 235-pounder from Metarie, Louisiana, is working at Will linebacker behind Leo Lewis and Willie Gay Jr.
“So far, camp is going real well based off of my first experience last year,” Brule said. “I feel like I’m more ahead of the game than I was last year. I’ve still got a lot to learn but I’m learning from the older guys and they’re keeping me up to par.”
Brule and the linebackers are also working under a new position coach. Former Vanderbilt standout Chris Marve came on board in March having spent the previous five seasons working with the Commodores after hanging up his own cleats.
“Coach Marve is only about six or seven years removed from playing so he definitely relates to us real well,” Brule said. “He’s willing to talk to you anytime about anything. Just being with him and knowing that he’s real family oriented, he’s there for anybody – it doesn’t even have to be a linebacker.”
State is loaded with experience at linebacker this season, a fact that is not lost on Brule. While he hopes to work his way onto the field on defense, he realizes that his best opportunity to play is again on special teams.
“I plan on being on every special team and get my reps where I can whenever those guys need me,” Brule said.