Olive Branch HS Catcher Edward Easley Interview

Mississippi State's second baseball commitment is one of the top catchers in the southeast, Edward Easley (6-1, 180) of Olive Branch (MS) High School. Edward talked to Gene's Page Sunday night about his recruitment and why he chose MSU over numerous other major colleges.

Edward has won numerous honors during his career, including All-State Honorable Mention as a junior, first-team All-District, All-County and All-Metro (Memphis). Possibly the top honor that he has earned is being rated the number one junior prospect by the Commercial Appeal going into his junior season. The area covered by the Commercial Appeal included Memphis and the surrounding area, including Mississippi's DeSoto County and Germantown, a hotbed of great high school baseball talent.

Why did you decide to commit to Mississippi State?
"I've always known about Mississippi State and their awesome baseball tradition. I've been to a bunch of their games recently and really liked it. The coaching staff is awesome. My parents will get the chance to come watch me play a lot. You just can't beat it.

"I took an unofficial visit there a couple of weeks ago. They showed me around and I realized it was something that I couldn't pass up. I had planned on visiting other colleges after I went to State, but after that visit, I talked it over with my parents and we decided that was the place for me."

Who was your primary recruiter from Mississippi State?
"Tommy Raffo."

What were your impressions of him?
"He really did a good job. He didn't try to pressure me at all. And that was something that was important. Some college coaches try to pressure you during the recruiting process. Coach Raffo and the rest of the Mississippi State coaches are kind of laid back and put no pressure on you."

Switching over to recruiting in general, what schools have sent you letters? I know you were highly recruited, so just name the major colleges.
"Georgia Tech and Clemson from the ACC. Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, LSU, Vanderbilt...I received a letter from all the SEC schools except for Kentucky."

What schools have called you since July 1st, the first day recruiters could call?
"Clemson was my first call. They called at 8 o'clock that morning. I was in the hotel asleep. We were in a tournament in Alabama. (MSU assistant) coach (Tommy) Raffo called me that night. I also received calls from Alabama, Vanderbilt, Stetson University and South Carolina that day. Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida and LSU called me after that."

You really have received a lot of calls.
"It has been crazy lately. I was ready to go ahead and get my decision over with, so I could stop some of these calls and concentrate on playing."

Have you called the schools to let them know you have made your decision?
"I've called the schools that have offered me a chance to make official visits and the ones that were the most interested."

Speaking of visits, what schools, other than MSU, have tried to get you in for an official visit?
"Vanderbilt, Clemson, Georgia Tech and South Carolina."

What did the college coaches that called you say they like about your game? Was it your offense, defense or both?
"They told me that I was definitely an SEC hitter. They said that I could hit in the SEC right now."

Did the colleges recruit you as a catcher?
"That is probably what I was recruited as, but hopefully, if I'm not catching, I can play other positions such as first base, third base or the outfield."

Did MSU's depth chart at catcher factor into your decision?
"I was very lucky that Mississippi State needed a catcher in my class. And I was lucky that they thought I could be the one. They have a catcher that will be draft eligible next year. If he does get drafted, I will have a better opportunity. But if he doesn't, I'm still going to compete for the job and see what happens."

Since you were primarily recruited as a catcher, what is your time throwing the ball down to second base?
"1.92 (seconds)."

You mentioned that college coaches told you that you are a good hitter. What were your stats as a junior?
"My batting average was .469 and I hit 8 home runs."

What about your sophomore year?
".500 and 3 home runs."

How did you do this summer?
"I played for Dulins' Dodgers 18-year old team. I batted .385 and led the team with 6 home runs. Another catcher, who signed with Ole Miss, and I swapped out catching. When I wasn't catching, I played first base or the outfield." [Edward will be 18 in December.-Gene]

Your team did pretty good, didn't they?
"Yes sir. We won the World Series here in Southaven. It's called the B.E.S.T. Baseball Championship World Series. It's a new World Series that was begun this year. Teams from all over the country and Canada came." [BEST means Best Elite Summer Teams.-Gene]

How did you do during the series?
"I hit two home runs and played pretty good defense."

Did you make the All-Tournament team?
"Yes sir." [Current MSU signee Michael Rutledge also made the All-Tournament team.-Gene]

Thanks for talking to me, Edward.
"Yes sir."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher and owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial site for Mississippi State sports since October, 1996. He can be reached by email at swindoll@genespage.com

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