A Nov 29th Q&A With MSU Coach John Cohen

In a November 29th one-on-one interview with Mississippi State head baseball coach John Cohen, Gene's Page talks with him about his recent baseball signees.

What are your thoughts about each of your recent signees?
"We really like John Marc Shelly because he really fits what we were looking for. We are so high on him because he's a Caleb Reed type guy - he's very athletic, he's good in all phases of the pitching game in terms of controlling the running game, being able to field his position, being able to locate his fastball, has pretty good movement with his fastball, being able to effectively pitch on both sides of the plate, and he has a devastating breaking ball, a swing and miss slider. We think he is somebody who can step into our program and have an immediate impact. And as good of a pitcher as he is, we believe he could possibly be an infielder as well. He's that athletic. We are really excited about him. He's the type kid that we are looking for. In recruiting, at this stage of the game, we want to add to the top. You don't want to add kids who start at the bottom and work their way. We feel like we are adding to the top of the team with this group, especially with a John Marc Shelly.

"Brett Pirtle, a junior college guy, is a versatile infielder from a junior college in Texas. We really think that Pirtle could play shortstop or third base. He can really hit. We are really excited about him and think he is somebody that has a chance to be a great player. Coach Burroughs recruited him and did a really good job.

"Jacob Shempert is one of the best hitters that I have seen in a long time. He is a great high school hitter and I think he has a chance to be a great hitter in college. He just has that innate ability to hit. I'm not sure you can teach the things that he can do. He swings at strikes and takes ball. That's a very difficult skill to master. I also think he has power. He just has a tremendous feel to hit. That gives him a chance to play very quickly. He also has arm strength. I think he could play an outfield spot. He could potentially play third base, maybe even first base.

"Daniel Garner probably has as much raw power as any high school in the country. I think he has off-the-charts power. I feel so comfortable with Daniel and his makeup because I have seen him play since he was eight-years-old. He came to our camps at Kentucky. I don't know if I have seen a body transform so well over a four or five year period the way Daniel has transformed his body. He has transformed his body into a professional looking body in terms of his draft status. That's a real testament to how hard he works. He has worked so hard with his strength and conditioning. He has worked so hard on his catching skills and his swing. He is just one of those special kids that you think will be a coach on the field one day. His makeup is off-the-charts. He is a very, very good student. I think he is going to be a special player for us. I am just thrilled that he is going to be part of our program.

"William DuPont is another left-handed-hitting middle infielder who can really swing the bat. I think he is really going to hit. He also can really run. His dad was actually a track athlete at Arkansas. I think he is going to be able to steal bases. But he's not just a runner because he can really hit, a guy who really gets the barrel on the baseball. And he's also got power in his bat. He also has great makeup and comes from a great family. He played football and showed some toughness.

"That's what I'm most excited about in regard to who we are bringing in and who we already have in our program right now. With the overall makeup of our kids there is some real toughness there. And, again, these kids add to the top of our team."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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