After Coach McMahon left to become the head coach at the University of Florida, Ron Polk replaced him and continued to recruit LaNinfa, as did several other schools.
"I (also) had Florida, Miami, Alabama and a couple of junior colleges sending me letters," said LaNinfa, who has hit 4 home runs in MSU's first 5 games of the season. "They told me (in the letters) that they were going to come see me play but they never talked to me."
However, one school let it be known to LaNinfa that he was high on their list by bringing him in for an official visit.
"I went down to Miami for an unofficial visit but I didn't like it down there too much," said LaNinfa. "Coach Polk and Coach (Tommy) Raffo kept calling me and saying that, 'we want you to come up here.' So, I decided to came up for a visit."
It didn't take LaNinfa long to know Mississippi State was the place for him.
"They treated me like a king," said LaNinfa. "Once I came up here, I fell in love with (Mississippi State). It was just the place I wanted to play. Coach Polk was the coach that I wanted to play for and it is a great coaching staff.
"I committed when I came here," said LaNinfa, who was an outfielder and infielder in high school. "Coach Polk asked me and I said, 'yes sir, I will.' It was just the place I wanted to be."
Once he got to State, because of MSU's outfield and DH depth and also a minor back ailment, he had to redshirt his true freshman year. It was a difficult but productive time for someone who had been a three-year starter for his high school.
"It was tough to come out here and watch everybody play, but it is something that helps you," said LaNinfa. "You learn a lot about the game and improve your game. It is a good experience, but it is also hard at times to watch everybody play and you are sitting there."
Hitting .462 with 4 home runs and 11 RBI in his first five games, it is obvious LaNinfa did improve his game, although even he is surprised with how well he has done during the early season.
"I can't believe it at all, but I'm just trying to do what I can do," said LaNinfa, who earned All-State honors twice during his high school career. "I'm just trying to help this team win and do the best I can."
With a team batting average of .389 in their first five games, LaNinfa sees no let up with the team's offensive production.
"We have a great hitting team," said LaNinfa, who had a .394 career batting average with 28 doubles and 88 RBI in three seasons of high school ball. "Everybody is hitting the ball well. We are swinging the bats well and staying focused."
With competition from the likes of Southern Cal right around the corner, those bats will definitely be needed.
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://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.