July 29, 2010 8:09:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- The No. 21, worn by the late Keffer McGee, will remain a symbol of Mississippi State football history as the only unofficial retired jersey.
MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin confirmed Wednesday that McGee''s mother, Matilda, decided to keep the No. 21 out of use.
Stricklin said he drove to Matilda''s home Wednesday to talk about the issue, which arose after incoming freshman Nick Griffin was photographed in a No. 21 jersey at MSU''s Big Dawg Camp.
"I just wanted to make sure we were communicating and letting her know we weren''t going to do anything she wasn''t comfortable with," Stricklin said Wednesday. "She said she felt best leaving it like it was."
Stricklin said MSU has an unwritten policy of not retiring numbers, hence the reason for McGee''s number not being retired. However, the number hasn''t been used since McGee drowned shortly before the 1997 season.
A Facebook group in support of keeping the number unworn was started soon after last week''s camp. As of Wednesday, the group had more than 325 members.
Outside of Bryan Athletic Building, there is a tree -- planted in ''97 -- in McGee''s memory.
McGee had eight career 100-yard games and ran for more than 1,000 yards in ''95.
-- David Miller
1. Injuries hit MSU's secondary hard COLLEGE SPORTS
2. New Hope's Crosson has successful summer on links HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
3. Columbus will try to beat Noxubee County to go 2-0 HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. Clayburn will be at center of MSU's line COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Top teams face off in Week 2 LOCAL COLUMNS