STARKVILLE, Miss. --- Mississippi State University has signed outfielder Joseph Hunter of Germantown, Tenn., to a national letter of intent in baseball, MSU head baseball coach Ron Polk announced.

Hunter is a 6-1, 180-pound right-handed hitting outfielder and two-year starter at Germantown (Tenn.) High School. A 2001 Tennessee Sports Writers All-State selection, Hunter hit .358 and helped guide coach Phil Clark's Red Devils to a 30-10 mark and the Tennessee Class AAA state championship.

"We are certainly pleased that Joseph Hunter will soon become a part of our Mississippi State University baseball program," said MSU coach Ron Polk. "He plays in one of the best high school baseball programs in the nation and should be an impact player in our baseball program."

The MSU signee started in the outfield playing primarily in center field for GHS and earning all-district, all-Shelby County and all-state tournament honors. Hunter was tabbed as the MVP of the state tournament after hitting a tournament-record .900 (9-for-10) with a 1.700 slugging percentage.

"Joseph will be a great addition to the MSU program," said Germantown coach Phil Clark. "He is the best defensive outfielder in Germantown history. He is so looking forward to playing at Mississippi State and for Coach Polk, and I look forward to being able to see Joseph play with the other Germantown players at State."

Hunter hit .353 as a sophomore and helped lead GHS to a 35-5 record and a No. 3 finish in the 2000 Tennessee Class AAA state playoffs.

His Germantown summer league team won the 2001 National High School Baseball Tournament in Louisville, Ky., and the summer league teams on which he competed the two previous summers captured back-to-back National Amateur Baseball Federation (NABF) World Series titles. This summer Hunter was invited to participate in the 18-and-under National USA Team Trials, the East Coast Professional Showcase in Wilmington, N.C., and the Ohio Valley Professional Scouting Association Showcase in Louisville, Ky.. This fall he was invited to compete at the Perfect Game Tournament in Jupiter, Fla., where Baseball America ranked him among the top 50 players in the 64-team event.

"It is an honor to be asked to play baseball for Mississippi State," said Hunter. "There is no better coaching staff in the country than the MSU staff led by coach Ron Polk. I look forward to being a part of this tradition-rich program."

He is the son of Chip and Janet Hunter of Germantown, Tenn.

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