JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - St. Martin offensive lineman Brandon Cunningham long held a vision for his future, an image that came into focus on National Signing Day.
“As a kid, I always knew I’d be in this moment. Not sounding cocky or nothing, but I always knew, if you work hard enough for something, you’re gonna get it," Cunningham said. "No matter if you gotta jump through hoops, you gotta crawl through mud, whatever you work for, it can be done, and I’m just living proof.”
Signing with Mississippi State marked the culmination of a lengthy journey for the four-star prospect.
Cunningham is the first to admit how far he has come since committing to the University of Miami just after his sophomore season.
“When you get a Miami offer, you go visit Miami - I’m a 16, 17-year-old kid in Miami. I’m seeing everything, I’m living like a star, you feel me?" Cunningham said. "That’s what really got me. I wasn’t really focused on the school, academics, none of that.”
That same lack of focus bled over into his early years at St. Martin.
“Ninth grade, tenth grade year, I was terrible. See, my main thing, I’m a ladies man, you feel me? I’m worried about these girls, all this and that. I was not focused," Cunningham said with a laugh. "But man, my eleventh and twelfth grade year? I was on the books. I’m an all-A student. I’ve been on the honor roll this whole year.”
“My main message is don’t wait too late to get started on your classes," Cunningham told the crowd gathered at St. Martin’s National Signing Day ceremony on Wednesday. "You want to be an athlete? Be a student-athlete.”
Now a Mississippi State signee, Cunningham has grown, both physically - he is 6-foot-4, 305 pounds after all - but also, emotionally. He’s grown into a role model for Coast athletes who hopes to leave behind a positive legacy.
“Moments like this? Not everybody gets to do this,” Cunningham said. “Not everybody gets to do this. I want kids to live through me, live through what I did, try not to make the mistakes I have academic-wise.”
As he prepares to begin his collegiate career in Starkville, what can people expect from Brandon Cunningham over the next three to four years?
“Expect somebody that you can count on, and that will give you 110 percent at all times.”