- Name: Joe Gray, Jr.
- Classification: 2018
- Position: Outfield
- Ht: Wt: 6-foot-3, 195
- Bats-Throws: R-R
- High School: Hattiesburg (MS) High School
- Schools of Interest: Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss
"I was being recruited by Auburn, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Kentucky, LSU offered me when Cannizaro was there, Alabama offered me at one point but I haven't talked to them in a while, and I was supposed to be offered by TCU if I visited there," said Gray, the 4th ranked player in the class of 2018 according to PerfectGame.org. "But out of all of the schools that was recruiting me, I have pretty much narrowed it down to the (three) Mississippi schools (Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss)."
He is leaning to one of those schools over the other two.
"Out of those three, I have had some favorite things about Ole Miss because they are a great program under Bianco, and I favored their program a lot, but Mississippi State is a different feel," said Gray. "You are talking about a fanbase where you are pretty much a rock star the moment that you step foot on that campus. There is a very comfortable vibe. The people there are amazing. No matter who you are, they are going to welcome you like it is home. And I how they play baseball with so much energy and intensity. When it comes to Mississippi State, it is a one of a kind type thing. Then when they brought in Cannizaro that just made it a lot better."
He talked about the things he likes about Mississippi State's new head coach.
"I had met Cannizaro before when he was recruiting me at LSU and he and I had very good chemistry as a player and coach," said Gray, who is rated a 10 by Perfect Game, the highest ranking that you can get from them. "I always loved how he coached his kids and how he acted on the field. Now, with me being a Mississippi kid and he being a Mississippi coach, that made things feel a lot more comfortable.
"Then I met him with my family (this past weekend). He talked to me about if I signed as a pro out of high school he was still going to be there for me regardless. And he told me that if I chose to be at Mississippi State - and I am pretty much leaning there now - he said he would be my coach and would help me become a first-round draft pick after my third year there. He said he wants me to be the best player that I can be and he wants to be the coach that gets me to that point."
Gray pointed out something about Cannizaro that shows why he feels he can be the coach to helps him get to the Major Leagues.
"Man, Cannizaro is so freaking (strong looking), I don't even know man," said Gray. "I joked with him in the meeting with him that he can do a lot of stuff on the baseball field but he is kind of stiff now (laugh). He is ridiculous (looking) now. I know he will try to help me build my body, and that is what I need if I want to make it to the Majors. I know I have to have a better built body to do that. And I think Cannizaro can do that for me. You can tell he has pride in himself and I am sure he will have pride in his players."
Gray expects to make his college choice soon.
"I expect to commit pretty soon," he said. "It will be either in December of January. I have one more visit, it is Ole Miss. I want to go up there and see what it is about up there. In my mind, if it is not something that turns me away, it will be Mississippi State."