It's not often you find a high school pitcher who is 6-foot-4, 210 pounds and can consistently throw his fastball in the 86-88 range, topping out around 90. Add in the fact that he is a member of the class of 2016 and you have a potential star in the making.
That's MSU commitment Riley Self, a sophomore-to-be at Magnolia Heights School in Senatobia, Mississippi.
Self talks about how he wound up committing to Mississippi State so early in the recruiting process.
"The Dulins Dodgers (Self's summer travel team) played against the Marucci team at Ole Miss last summer," said Self. "Of course, Ole Miss (coaches) was there, State (coaches) was there and Southern Miss (coaches) was there. After the game that I pitched (in), (MSU assistant) Coach (Nick) Mingione came up to my coach and talked to him (about me). My coach told me to give them a call. I started calling them every now and then and started going to a lot of their games."
The recruiting process worked very quickly from that point on.
"I was up there (visiting) and (the MSU coaches) told me that they would like for me to be a Bulldog and be a part of their program," said Self. "(MSU head coach John Cohen) gave me a (dollar) number and I told him I would think about it."
Self took a few days to think about it, then made his decision.
"I talked to my family and prayed about it and called (the MSU coaches) back and told them that I would like to meet with them," he said. "We were having a good time together and I told them (that I wanted to be a Bulldog)."
It wasn't really that difficult of a decision because Self already was a Bulldog at heart.
"I've been a Mississippi State fan since I was little," he said. "I've gone to their games. I like the atmosphere, I like the coaching staff, I was comfortable up there and that was where my heart was."
Mississippi State wasn't the only option for the very talented youngster.
"Ole Miss was also interested in me and I called (their coaches) a couple of times and met up with them and went to some of their games," said Self. "They were very interested in me but it wasn't where I wanted to go."
Now that he has made his commitment, Self will continue to improve his overall game.
"I'm going to continue to work hard on everything, get my velocity up, keep my arm healthy, long toss a lot and do bands," he said.
He's already seen a lot of improvement since last summer.
"Last (summer) when I pitched at Ole Miss I was throwing around 83 and topped out at 84," said Self, who now consistently throws his fastball in the 86-88 miles per hour. "This year I started a long-tossing program and throwing a football a lot. And I guess that has helped me get my arm stronger."
Although he has a very good fastball for as young as he is, he feels like another pitch of his is his best pitch.
"I think my best pitch is my slider," said Self. "I can usually throw it for a strikeout because I can control it better."
This past season, Self helped Magnolia Heights School win a state championship. As a pitcher, he was 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA. He struck out 51 batters in 39.1 innings. Teams only hit .171 against him.
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 email@example.com.