- Name: Hayden Jones
- Classification: 2018
- Position: Catcher
- Ht: Wt: 5-foot-11, 170
- Bats-Throws: L-R
- High School: Carroll High School, Fort Wayne, IN
- Schools of Interest: Committed to Mississippi State. Also considered Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Xavier, Miami-OH, Purdue, Alabama, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Missouri
Jones explained how Mississippi State became interested in him.
"When (now Mississippi State pitching) Coach (Gary) Henderson was at Kentucky (as their head coach) he recruited me there," said Jones. "Then, Mississippi State became interested in me when he was hired by them. Coach Henderson asked me if I would be interested in Mississippi State and I told him I was. I was very excited that he was recruiting me for Mississippi State due to all the success that they have been having."
An unofficial visit was then set up and Jones and his parents headed down south.
"We visited on the 4th of July," said Jones. "The visit was fantastic. Seeing pictures of some of their fans in the stands and how supportive they are of their team was great. And the town is a true college town. I was also impressed with all the academic support they have."
The facilities also impressed him.
"We drove on the highway and saw the stadium and I thought it was pretty nice," said Jones. "Then, when we pulled into the road behind centerfield we thought this is big-time. When they took us into the Palmeiro Center it was crazy thinking that they had something like this to offer."
Something else that really stood out were the coaches.
"(Mississippi State head) Coach (John) Cohen was comfortable to be around and also fun to talk to," said Jones. "I felt like he was someone that you could talk to every single day because he was approachable. I also talked to (MSU assistant) Coach (Will) Coggin. It was awesome talking to him.
"And I like Coach Henderson because he is such an honest person. He is like a family member; he is always going to be there for you. "
While he enjoyed the visit, everything became very real to him when he received the offer from Coach Cohen.
"Coach Henderson told me beforehand that he wasn't just bringing me down to just look around so I knew I would likely be offered but when (Coach Cohen) made the offer I couldn't believe it," said Jones. "When we left his office and got into the car I couldn't even talk because I was so shocked. I knew I was going to receive the offer but it was just so exciting."
Mississippi State's coaches didn't ask him to make a quick decision. That impressed Jones.
"One of the things that I like about the coaches at Mississippi State is they aren't pushy," said Jones. "They didn't give me a time limit. And that is one of the things that really impressed me. They let me do my own thing and that helped."
Jones took his time considering the offer because he wanted to be fair to all of the schools that were recruiting him.
"We visited some of the new coaches at schools that I was considering, such as (head) Coach (Nick) Mingione at Kentucky. I still had that offer on the table," said Jones. "I also had Purdue and I also went back to visit Michigan State, Xavier, Miami-Ohio. I turned down an offer from Louisville. I also had four or five calls (last) weekend from schools that were interested in me, Alabama, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Missouri."
Despite all the recruiting attention, Jones knew it was time to make a commitment.
"I decided to commit because I felt it was time," he said. "When I woke up Wednesday morning I was ready to commit. My family and I talked about it. But with the schools that I had in mind, I felt Mississippi State was home due to the coaches that they have there and all the support they have."
He then called the two Mississippi State coaches most involved in his recruitment to let them know he was committing.
"When I committed I called both Coach Henderson and Coach Cohen," said Jones. "They were both very excited about my commitment. After I committed, I told Coach Henderson that I was going to call the other schools just to let them know that I have committed to Mississippi State."
This past season, Jones hit .435 with 2 home runs and 32 RBI.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network.
Class of 2018 catcher Hayden Jones is headed to the SEC to play baseball
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