Warchant.com first told subscribers a couple weeks ago that Brodrick Bunkley should have his academic woes behind him and would be returning to the team soon. That became official on Monday when Florida State issued a statement through the Sports Information Department that the senior noseguard had been cleared to return to practice. He was scheduled to begin practicing Monday evening but rain and lightning will postpone his official return until Tuesday morning.
Bunkley's return gives a big boost to a defensive line that had already lost Clifton Dickson for the season because of his own academic issues.
"It will be good to have him back out at practice because we are so thin at that position," head coach Bobby Bowden said. "I've really been impressed with these young defensive tackles that have been getting some work, but they are totally inexperienced. They are good athletes that have a lot to learn. Bunkley brings you three years of experience."
Bunkley, who is the only returning starter on the defensive line, started seven last year and nine for his career. He was rated as the No. 9 defensive tackle in the nation according to The Sporting News entering the 2005 season.
"I'm glad to be back here with the guys and I'm looking forward to getting outside to practice which looks like it will be tomorrow," Bunkley said. "I have been working out on my own and have stayed in pretty good shape but I need to get out there on the field and get some work in the heat."
Even though Bunkley will be back on the FSU practice fields Tuesday, he is still not "officially" cleared. That's because final grades will not be available for a couple more weeks but everybody seems confident he will be in the clear academically when final grades do come in.
Bunkley is coming off of February ankle surgery but told Warchant.com last month that he is recovered and cleared to play.
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