Zac Houston commits to MSU

Poplarville (MS) High School 2013 RHP Zac Houston, one of the top pitchers in the southeast, committed to Mississippi State baseball today.

  • Name: Zac Houston
  • Classification: 2013
  • Position: RHP
  • HT, WT: 6-foot-5.5, 217 pounds
  • Bats/Throws: Right-Right
  • High School: Poplarville (MS) High School
  • Summer Travel Team: Ohio Warhawks
  • Schools of Interest: Committed to Mississippi State. Had offers from Ole Miss and Southern Miss and interest from Alabama, LSU and Tulane, among others.

    "I committed today around 5:30 to 6 pm," said Houston. "I called (MSU assistant) Coach Butch (Thompson) first and told him. Then I called (MSU head) Coach (John) Cohen and told him. Coach Butch was extremely happy. And Coach Cohen was equally as happy."

    While there was a lot that Houston liked about Mississippi State, one thing really stood out.

    "The thing that really sold me about Mississippi State, more than the campus, more than the facilities, more than their record, was the coaches," said Houston, who chose MSU over offers from Ole Miss and Southern Miss as well as strong interest from Alabama, LSU and Tulane. "They made me feel like I had a home there. Coach Butch, Coach Mingione, Coach Cohen, all three of them have been amazing."

    One personal thing that recently happened showed Houston the sincerity of the Mississippi State coaches, especially Coach Thompson.

    "My grandmother died the past week and Coach Butch knew about it and put a letter in the mail to me," he said. "It was more than I could have ever asked. They were amazing. They didn't have to do that. And it wasn't them trying to get me to go there. I think even if they knew I was going somewhere else, he would have still done that because that's just the way Coach Butch is. Another thing is they never pressured me. They never pressured me like some other college coaches did, not once. They told me to just take my time."

    Mississippi State, like so many of the other college programs that recruited him, became very serious earlier in the summer.

    "I think they started recruiting me at the Perfect Game National Showcase in Minnesota earlier in the summer," said Houston, who has also attended the 18U PG WWBA National Championship in Marietta, Georgia and the East Coast Pro Showcase in New York. He will be attending the Jupiter (FL) Pro Showcase later in the summer.

    He and the Mississippi State coaches have stayed in contact since the showcase in Minnesota.

    "We have been talking ever since," said Houston. "Coach Mingione came to Ohio to watch me pitch, then he watched me pitch in Atlanta at the East Cobb 18U tournament."

    Houston explained what the Mississippi State coaches like about him.

    "The coaches said they really like my size, like the way my body moves and how I handle myself on the mound, " he said. "Coach Butch said I am a big, power pitcher who has good movement and is very projectable."

    Houston talked about what the coaches saw when he pitched this summer.

    "Over the summer with the Warhawks I pitched really well," he said. "In one game, against the Midland Redskins, I beat them with a fastball. That's all I threw. It was sinking the entire game. That's the kind of pitcher I am, a sinker-ball pitcher. I get ground balls. I guess having that sink is what has drawn a lot of schools to me."

    Something that is very unique about Houston is he has sink not only on his two-seam fastball but also on his four-seam.

    "My sinker is a two-seam but my four-seam sinks, too," he said. "I don't notice it myself but coaches tell me that I have a sink that they haven't seen before. My two-seam sinks quicker and more than the four-seam."

    He also has excellent velocity.

    "The average velocity on my fastball, on a good day, is 89-92," said Houston, who also throws a curveball and a changeup. "I topped out at 93 at one of the games during the summer."

    Houston is MSU's 8th commitment in the class of 2013, joining fellow commitments Reid Humphreys, SS/RHP, 6-2, 180, R-R, Northwest Rankin High School (Flowood, MS); Derek Martin, RHP/INF, 6-3, 200, R-R, Tri-County Academy (Flora, MS); Austin Sexton, RHP, 6-2, 165, R-R, Sparkman (AL) HS; Dakota Hudson, RHP, 6-5, 190, R-R, Sequatchie County (Dunlap, TN) HS; Brent Rooker, 1B, 6-4, 185, R-R, Evangelical Christian School (Cordova, TN) HS and Vance Tatum, LHP, 6-4, 180, L-L, Southaven (MS) HS; Avery Geyer, RHP/OF, 5-11, 295, R-R, Pensacola (FL) Catholic HS.

    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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