Former University of South Carolina football standouts Jasper Brinkley and Captain Munnerlyn paid a surprise visit to Thomson Middle School with a special message for students taking CRCT exams this week.
"It's important to go to bed early every night, get at least eight hours of rest and eat a good, well-balanced breakfast and lunch and supper every day," Brinkley told students during a special pep rally in the gym to kick off the week-long testing. "Getting the proper rest and eating right will help in taking the tests. The brain needs to be fueled."
Brinkley said it's important for him to encourage students to do their best on these exams because it wasn't too many years ago that he was in the same seats as students find themselves today at Thomson Middle School.
"I want to see them do well in school, because getting an education is a very important thing," Brinkley said. "It's one of the most important things a young person can do, because that education is always going to stay with you."
The 23-year-old Brinkley, whose twin brother, Casper, is on the practice squad of the Carolina Panthers in the NFL, is expected to be drafted this Saturday by an NFL team following his distinguished college career with the South Carolina Gamecocks.
The Brinkley brothers are former football standouts with the Thomson High School Bulldogs. Both of them are former students at Thomson Middle School.
"It's great to be home in Thomson," Jasper Brinkley told The McDuffie Mirror. "I've been back here several times recently visiting with family and friends."
Most recently when he returns home, he brings with him one of his close friends, Captain Munnerlyn, who is regarded as one of the finest defensive backs in the country.
"Captain is like a little brother to me," Brinkley said.
Munnerlyn, 21, who is from Mobile, Ala., also emphasized the importance of students getting the proper rest and diet they need to do well on this week's exams.
He agrees with his friend that getting an education is vital in today's world.
"We've finished with school now and I realize how important an education is," Munnerlyn said. "It's something that will always stay with me. I'm glad I have an education, because I'm a man now. I'm in the real world and I have bills to pay."
Georgia law, as amended by the A Education Reform Act of 2000, requires that all students in first through eighth grades take the CRCT in the content areas of reading, English/language arts and mathematics. Students in third through eighth grades also are assessed in science and social studies.
Such testing began Tuesday and will conclude Monday in the McDuffie County School System.
Both former college football stars played under South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier and are expected to be drafted by NFL teams this weekend.
They said they are looking forward to Saturday.
"We're hoping it's going to be a real special day for both of us," Brinkley said.
1) Jasper1 -- cutline: Former Thomson High School and University of South Carolina standout Jasper Brinkley is surrounded by Thomson Middle School students during a visit last week.
2) jasper6 -- cutline: Brinkley talks with Thomson Middle School Principal Claude Powell during the CRCT rally.
3) jasper2 -- cutline: Former South Carolina Gamecocks Jasper Brinkley laughs as Captain Munnerlyn dances.
4) jasper7 -- cutline: Brinkley and Munnerlyn laugh during the event at Thomson Middle.
PLEASE FILL IN OTHER PHOTOS SLUGGED "jasper" WITHOUT CAPTIONS