|2015 RHP Commits To MSU|
Desoto Central (MS) High School 2015 righthanded pitcher Keegan James has committed to Mississippi State.
"I called them back on Christmas Eve (and committed then)."
There were several reasons why he committed to Mississippi State.
"Mississippi State is where I have wanted to play my entire life," said Keegan. "It is a dream come true for me and what I have always wanted to do.
"Their coaching staff is so great. That is one of the main reasons I picked them over everybody else. All the other schools, I didn't feel like I had the same bond with them as I did with the Mississippi State coaches.
"And their academics are great. That is something (MSU Head) Coach (John) Cohen talked about before he even talked about baseball, their academics and their GPA. I also loved the campus."
Mississippi State didn't waste anytime recruiting Keegan once they saw him at their camps.
"We (Keegan and high school teammate Austin Riley) went to one of their camps in the spring and they saw me pitch two innings. We went to their big camp about two months ago. They called us back to their offices and told us the next time we come down they wanted to talk scholarships," said Keegan.
Their recruitment of him continued to escalate after the camp.
"They started talking to me after their fall camp," said Keegan. "(Assistant) Coach (Butch) Thompson was the one who started talking to me and recruiting me. He is an awesome guy, a good Christian. I kind of felt a bond with him, and he said he felt the same. He said he's looking forward to me coming (to Mississippi State).
"(Assistant) Coach (Nick) Mingione was a part of my recruitment, too. I love Coach Mingione. Like Coach Thompson, he is a good Christian. He's a really nice guy who is very positive.
"Coach (John) Cohen was really good, also. He was really straight-forward and really nice. He talked business all the time. I loved that about him. I talked business with him and with Coach Thompson and Coach Mingione we talked business and we would talk about hunting."
Several things impressed the Mississippi State coaches about Keegan.
"'My two-seam (fastball) runs pretty good and they said the bite on it was very good," said Keegan. "They said my curveball had great spin on it and my changeup was working pretty good that day, too."
Not only does he have good movement on his two-seam fastball but he's already throwing it in the mid-80s and he's still just 15-years-old.
"The last time I was at Mississippi State they clocked my fastball at 88 (miles per hour)," said Keegan. "When our evaluation sheet came back that was the hardest that I threw. My average velocity (on my two-seam fastball) is 85-86 and I can hit 87 a couple of times in a game."
Mississippi State was one of five teams that recruited Keegan.
"My travel team (the Memphis Tigers) was at a tournament in Memphis and I pitched there," said Keegan. "(After the tournament) Memphis sent me a questionnaire and wanted me to call them. And I got (a questionnaire) from Georgia as well.
"We went down to LSU a day before their camp because they asked us to come down there and tour their facilities. LSU's pitching coach talked to me after the camp and said he was really impressed with me but he said they wanted to come watch us play a couple of games of high school ball during the years.
"I had called Ole Miss' (Assistant) Coach (Carl) Lafferty a couple of times before I had committed. He said he wanted to have a pretty good relationship with me and he wanted to continue talking about me going there. But he knew that both Austin's dad and my dad went to State and that he wasn't trying to force me into anything and make me feel uncomfortable. I really liked that because it was an easy talk with him."
While he enjoyed the recruiting attention from all the coaches, none could offer what Mississippi State had - the chance to play for the college he had always wanted to play for.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.