NORMAL - Former Mississippi running back Alan Abrams and junior college wide receiver Andrew Paschal joined the Illinois State football team for its first practice Thursday night.
Both will have two years of eligibility at ISU.
The 6-foot, 205-pound Abrams played 18 games and started three for the Rebels. He gained 28 yards on 14 carries last season after running for 275 yards on 46 attempts in 2004.
The Orlando, Fla., native had a career-best carry of 59 yards against Auburn in 2004.
?Alan was a kid we looked at out of high school in the Orlando area,? said Redbird head coach Denver Johnson. ?He wound up at Ole Miss and things didn?t work out down there like he wanted.
?We were really excited about him in high school, thought he had great potential as a college back and we?re pleased about him joining our team now.
?His high school film really reminded me a lot of Sha-Ron Edwards, who used to run for us. He is a tall, slender guy with good speed, agility and change of direction. He also has enough size to get behind his pads and do some things.?
Abrams was a two-time Florida Class 6A all-stater for Apopka High School. He was named the most valuable player of the 2001 Class 6A title game. He rushed for 42 touchdowns and 3,841 yards on 438 career carries.
The 6-3, 205-pound Paschal played for Fort Scott College in Kansas where he made 38 catches last season for 486 yards and three touchdowns.
?Andrew is a big, physical receiver,? Johnson said. ?When Micha Gordon failed to qualify out of high school, it left a void at the receiving corps, and we felt like we needed to supplement that. He?s a guy that got out late, but was still available. His brother (Marcus) is a two-year starter at free safety at Iowa, so he?s got a good bloodline. We brought him up, liked him and convinced him to join our squad.?
Paschal played wide receiver and safety at Largo High School where he made 42 catches for 692 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior.