"I went down to Starkville on September 1st and that's when (Mississippi State) offered," said Billingsley, who is being recruited as a pitcher by the Mississippi State coaching staff. "I had decided on Tuesday (October 2nd) what I was going to do. But I decided to sleep on it and see how I felt the next morning. After my (church) class (that I teach) Wednesday night I called (MSU pitching) Coach (Butch) Thompson and committed. I told him, 'I have just gotten home from church and that if the offer was still the same I'm ready to be a Bulldog.' He said, 'thank God, I didn't think I was ever going to get you.' That was how it went."
Billingsley chose Mississippi State over several other colleges.
"I also visited Delta State and I also had it set up to visit Ole Miss last Saturday but it rained it out and (the Ole Miss coach) didn't want me to visit when it was raining," said Billingsley. "He told me he would call me Monday night but he didn't call me until about 10 minutes ago (on Wednesday night). That made my decision a lot easier. I think it was God telling me what I needed to do.
"I went to a pitching camp at Alabama and they really showed a lot of interest in me. They called me a few times and called my coach a few times but I haven't heard from them the past two weeks. I also had interest from Southern Miss."
Not only his talent but his toughness was something that the Mississippi State coaching staff were impressed with.
"I threw really well last year but my hitting suffered. I think I had something like 5 or 6 complete games. I won the championship game against Starkville Academy, throwing a two-hitter against them," said Billingsley, who top out at 89 to 90 miles per hour with his fastball. "During football season, I was playing linebacker and went for a tackle and tore my ACL, my MCL and my meniscus. Because we were going to have a pretty good team this past year, I made sure that I would be back. And I did. I got back in three months. I had to wear a turf shoe the entire season."
A starter in high school, it appears he will be a middle relief pitcher for Mississippi State early in his career.
"They can't promise me anything but they hope as a freshman that I can come in and get three to six outs in a game as a middle reliever," said Billingsley. "They want me to eventually be a starter."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.