[Premium article] Clay Dirks, a 6-4, 225-pound left-handed pitcher from Hernando, Mississippi who is considering Mississippi State, is rated one of the top players in the country by Prospects Plus, a high school baseball scouting service run by Baseball America and Perfect Game USA.

Prospects Plus rates Clay as the 2nd best player in Mississippi (behind West Point HS's Corey Carter) and 231st best player in the country. However, I have talked to several major league scouts and they feel he is their choice for the best player in the state of Mississippi.

I attempted to get in touch with Clay Sunday night (Sept. 16). Although he wasn't home, his mother, Juli Dirks, was kind enough to answer all of my questions. Here is the interview.

What schools is Clay interested in?
Juli Dirks: "LSU is number one with Mississippi State number 2. He also likes Ole Miss and a Florida school that he has mentioned (she didn't know the school's name) and Notre Dame. Notre Dame, I think is his last choice. Those are his top choices."

What schools have shown the most interest in Clay?
Juli Dirks: "LSU and Mississippi State."

Has he set up any official visits and has he been on any official visits?
Juli Dirks: "Yes, he has being on an official visit to LSU and he is going on an official visit to Mississippi State."

When will he visit Mississippi State?
Juli Dirks: "I think it is either the last weekend in September or the middle of October."

Has he received a scholarship offer from any school?
Juli Dirks: "So far, he has received an offer from LSU."

You mentioned LSU as number 1 and Mississippi State as number 2. I'm assuming that means that he is leaning to LSU at the moment?
Juli Dirks: "Yes.

"But it was really kind of funny. Mississippi State sent an article to Clay comparing Mississippi State and LSU. I just kind of smiled at him and said 'I think they are bringing out the big guns for you'. He said yea. It is a neat article. Both of us are looking forward to the trip to Mississippi State."

I've heard about Clay since his 9th grade year. Tell me a little about how he did early in his high school career.
Juli Dirks: "When he was in the 8th grade he played on the varsity baseball team for the high school. I was kind of saying that we are pushing him too fast because I felt he needed to play with his own age group. But he has handled playing with the older kids very well."

I agree wholeheartly with Juli. For the past three years, I have been hearing about Clay from folks who have seen him play and also from major league baseball scouts. We will all continue to hear about this youngster as his career continues to gather steam.

Look for future updates on Clay as he decides on his final college choice.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://www.genespage.com. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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