Homecoming: Curry back in Joplin to play for MSSU

·4 min read

Jun. 2—As he entered his name into the transfer portal on April 26, Alex Curry's phone would simply not go on silent.

It was ringing off the hook.

The former Joplin High School offensive lineman, who spent his freshman campaign at Division I Southeast Missouri State, was open for business.

Curry said he had approximately 30 to 40 coaches — both from the DI and DII level — reach out with interest.

But in the end, Curry wound up where it all started. Curry's back in Joplin as he announced he's transferring to play for football coach Atiba Bradley and Missouri Southern this fall over Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

"It's playing for something bigger than me," Curry said. "That's what I really struggled with was being a me player instead of a team player. I was struggling at SEMO. I had some ups and downs, the regular freshman woes. I felt like it was time to come home. I got homesick really bad. I wanted to see my family and be closer in general.

"During my high school career, they always stayed in contact even though it wasn't Coach Atiba. It was his crew (recruiting me). I feel like he's come in and done a good job of keeping the same crew, keeping genuine people in the program."

Curry's prep career with Curtis Jasper's Eagles is well-documented. He was a dynamic offensive lineman for Joplin as he helped pave the way for a running game that was one of the best in Missouri back when he was a junior in 2019.

You might remember that season. The Eagles, finishing as the state runner-up, made their first appearance in a state championship game since 1984 when Parkwood lost to Jefferson City Helias 23-13 at Arrowhead Stadium.

As a senior, Curry received first team all-state recognition. He finished his career with Joplin as a two-time first team all-COC and all-district selection.

Curry's first stop in college football wasn't ideal. Not only was he homesick, but he dealt with a patellar tendon sprain in his knee that prevented him from playing at 100%.

"That really kind of killed me," Curry said. "It really hit me bad during that time. I was progressing well. I just had to get out of my own head and be the player I can be. Everybody tells me I have potential, but I have to put in the work to reach that potential."

And a change in mindset from spring football to now has instilled a new belief in Curry as he goes back out on the football field.

"I want to get better," Curry said. "I'm ready to get better. I just feel like I have something more to play for. I'm at 100%, and I feel like the weight program at MoSo is going to be really good for me."

That, and having his childhood best friend to protect helps, too.

Curry will once again block for his former Joplin teammate, close friend and running back Nathan Glades.

"Glades was a big factor in it," Curry said. "He told me a lot of good things about Atiba. We had a couple of meals with Atiba and I got to sit down and talk to him. I really liked what he had to say."

Glades, who earned the starting assignment in the backfield for 10 games, put together a strong season as a true freshman for the Lions this past fall. He netted a team-high 737 yards on the ground in 164 carries (4.49 per carry) with five touchdowns.

Curry is ecstatic to reunite with his best friend.

"It's going to be electric, man," Curry said. "We are going to make some things happen, that's for sure. It's going to be an exciting season. Glades is going to have one of the best seasons of his career. I can tell you that, for sure. He's gotten a lot better. Physically. Mentally. He's going to be a dog this year."

Curry said he adds size and physicality to MSSU's offensive line.

"I like to beat the crap out of people," Curry said. "Hopefully, I can bring a little attitude and physicality to the team."

And Curry said suiting up for games at Fred G. Hughes Stadium on Saturdays will almost be like playing at his old stomping grounds in Joplin.

"It will be like playing at (Junge Field) except at a higher level," Curry said. "I'm ready to represent my people and show the state what Joplin is about."