It's not often you see a high school pitcher's velocity take a 7 to 8 miles per hour jump in one year but that's exactly what happened to Jacob Billingsley.
"I think I topped out at 85 in the state championship game last year," said Jacob, who recently helped his high school team win the 2013 state championship. "Earlier this year, I hit 93 once and I've hit 92 several times. (And) my consistent velocity is close to 90."
He explained what he felt was the reason for the dramatic increase in his velo.
"I was on a pretty good workout this fall," said Jacob. "Shawn Johnson, who is a strength coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, sent me a workout and I've used it. His workout was strictly a weight-lifting workout. I took a four-week break where I didn't play at all. All I did was weight lift. When I got back from that break my first spin I hit 91."
While his fastball velocity has taken a notch forward, Jacob is much more than just a fastball type pitcher.
"I've added a changeup this year," he said. "(Now) I have a four-seam (fastball), a two-seam (fastball), a curveball, a changeup and a slider. My slider is my go-to pitch. But my changeup has been working good this year."
Jacob committed to Mississippi State prior to the increase in velocity.
"My best velocity during our (2012) fall games was 88," said Jacob. "When I went to the (Mississippi) State (September) camp I topped out at 89. Then, when I got back from my break I hit 91."
The Mississippi State coaches already liked what they had seen from the talented righthander.
"(Mississippi State pitching) Coach (Butch) Thompson invited me to their camp," said Jacob.
His performance at the camp sealed the deal as far as the Mississippi State coaches were concerned.
"That day was the day they said they wanted me to come back and they were going to talk to me," said Jacob. "I came back two weeks later and they told me that they (wanted me to be a Bulldog)."
He took some time to think about it, then made his decision.
"I actually committed a couple of weeks later," said Jacob, a Bulldog fan his entire life. "I hadn't even told my parents. It just felt right that day. I called Coach Thompson and told him that I was ready to be a Bulldog. I then went inside and told my parents."
As you would expect, he keeps up with how his future team is doing.
"I follow them on twitter and online," said Jacob. "My dad keeps up with them and sends me the tweets that he gets."
He's also attended a couple of Mississippi State baseball games this season.
"I went to Super Bulldog Weekend and watched two of those games," said Jacob. "That was the day when there were 14,562 people at the game."
This season Jacob had a 10-0 record with a 0.54 ERA. He struck out 82 batters in 51.2 innings, while allowing 18 hits and walking 21. His team's record was 38-0.
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.