Waddell and his dad visited Mississippi State last Sunday. That visit was the final factor in him deciding Mississippi State was the correct choice for him.
"My dad and I went on a visit up there on Sunday, then I called them on Monday night and committed," said Waddell, who chose Mississippi State over Alabama and others. "I liked how professional the coaches were and how well organized everything was. Obviously, the facilities and program are top notch. What impressed me was how everything was done and run over there. They made me feel like they legitimately wanted me to come to their school, which was pretty cool.
"And I think State puts me in a better position to get better and also to play. And the program is better than what Alabama has right now. State went to the College World Series last year. And they have a bunch of studs on the team and have put up another good record this year, which I think they are going to continue to do. Right now, State is an elite program and I'm excited to be going there."
Waddell has been to Mississippi State baseball games before but had never had the chance to see MSU baseball behind the scenes like he did on the visit.
"I've gone up there before and watched a couple of games because being from East Mississippi (Community College), there are a lot of State fans so we would go up there and watch games but Sunday was the first time that I got to see everything, the facilities, the locker room, the weight room, the Palmeiro Center," said the talented lefty.
He explained what the Bulldog coaching staff liked about him.
"(Mississippi State pitching coach) Coach (Butch) Thompson said he liked the way my body makeup is and that I have a real easy, quick arm slot," said Waddell. "He was recruiting other guys who had the same kind of makeup but he said he liked me because he had heard that I was a hard worker who wanted to win. I guess that kind of separated me and made him like me more. He said I remind him of a (former Bulldog lefthanded pitcher) named Chad Girodo. He also said he feels he can get my velocity up once I get my arm back in shape."
He's excited to have the chance to work with a pitching coach who he feels is one of the top pitching coaches in college baseball.
"Being from Tuscaloosa, I didn't know much about Mississippi State but based on what I have heard from other coaches, Coach Thompson is unreal with pitchers, like a pitching genius," said Waddell. "The thing I like about him is he lets you do what you want. Obviously, there is input from him but you are (calling your on game). "
During his three years at East Mississippi Community College he mainly played first base and hit while throwing just 6.2 innings due to a couple of injuries to his back and his arm.
"My first year I had to get the metal taken out of my back so I had to redshirt," said Waddell, who throws 86-88 miles per hour right now but projects to throw harder once he's fully healthy. "My last two years (I couldn't pitch much due to an bone spur in my throwing arm). Staying in juco three years is not what you want to do but it has definitely paid off. (Where I'm about to play) is not too bad at all (laugh). It is everybody's dream to play SEC ball, especially somewhere like State."
While Waddell is expected to be a pitcher during his career at Mississippi State, he will also be given the chance to hit.
"(The MSU coaches) said they definitely feel that I have a better opportunity on the mound but they said they will do whatever I want to do," said Waddell. "If I want to hit, they they will try that out in the fall. I guess we will make a decision together and see how it works."
Waddell is excited about his future but he realizes that future wouldn't have been possible without God.
"I couldn't have gotten to where I am today without the Lord," said Waddell. "He's blessed me so much and I'm just lucky to get this opportunity. Without him, none of it would be possible."
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.