No doubt: Goody says he's LSU-bound

Goody removes doubt, says he'll be on campus in Baton Rouge next month and will pitch for the Tigers in 2012.

Unlike their major-sport brethren, college baseball coaches approach recruiting with the knowledge that they're going to have to piece a class together, player-by-player, over the course of a few months, with as much work done after the Major League Baseball Draft as before.

Sure, all those signatures on national letters of intent are a relief when they roll across the fax machine in November and April, but there's also a hesitancy to exhale – a sense of fool's gold at work.

With the best recruits, the ones who get snagged in the MLB Draft, there's a lot of waiting and wondering between the draft in early June and the deadline in mid-August when players and big league franchises have to make a final call.

A lot of wondering "will he come?"

That phase is apparently over for this summer for LSU coach Paul Mainieri and his staff.

Nick Goody said Thursday he is 100 percent committed to play for the Tigers in 2012 and will head to Baton Rouge next month for orientation after ending contract talks with the New York Yankees.

A rising junior who spent the last two seasons at the State College of Florida, Manatee/Sarasota, Goody removed any doubt about a last-second change of heart.

"The Yankees made a nice final offer, but I was already leaning pretty much toward coming to LSU," he said. "After I thought about what they offered, I felt like going to school would be the better option for me and my future. This is a great chance for me to pitch for one of the best programs in the country and I'm really pumped."

Goody just turned 20 and will be eligible for the draft again after the 2012 season. New York picked him in the 22nd round and Mainieri said he Goody will get a chance to improve his stock.

"I'm expecting big things from this kid," Mainieri said. "After one great year with us he could get drafted in a lot better spot than this year and that's what I hope he does. Ideally, I'd love to see him get drafted a lot higher after helping us win the College World Series and he's the kind of player who could play a role in us having that kind of season."

Mainieri said getting Goody is a huge piece of the 2011 recruiting class, right behind Catholic High pitcher Aaron Nola opting to come to school and his brother, Austin Nola, deciding to return for his senior season.

Why is Goody such a key piece? Because he potentially gives Mainieri and new pitching coach Alan Dunn an immediate replacement for the closer's role, a spot that was troublesome for LSU in 2011.

Matty Ott left the job open when he signed with the Boston Red Sox after carving a spot as the Tigers' all-time saves leader in his three-year career.

But three blown saves in SEC games last season – two by Ott and a one by Kevin Berry – ultimately cost LSU a spot in the SEC and NCAA tournaments.

In Goody, the Tigers get a pitcher who has experience in the closer's role and seems to possess the perfect personality for that job.

He was 1-0 with four saves for the Mankato (Minn.) Moon Dogs in the North Woods League this summer, and has the right emotional makeup to handle the pressure of intense close-game situations.

"He's a bulldog, there's no question about it," Mainieri said. "He's got a good fastball and a good breaking pitch. He's champing at the bit to work with Alan Dunn and see if he can develop his other pitches a little more to make him that much tougher."

Nothing new on Mahtook

While landing Goody is a major relief, there's still no news whether LSU could wind up with a major jolt of good news.

Junior center fielder Mikie Mahtook is still mulling his options, and hasn't ruled out returning for his final season.

Maktook was picked by the Tampa Bay Rays with the 31st pick of the first round of the draft and is line for a lucrative signing bonus.

Mainieri said recently that Tampa has made Mahtook a substantial offer, but not enough yet for the All-SEC star to sign or end the idea of coming back to school.

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