Mike Tyler: "When I measure him I get 6-4. I have seen him measured at camps anywhere from 6-2.75 to 6-4. The last one he ran he ran it at a Georgia mini-camp and he ran it in a 4.71 or 4.72."
Do you measure him with his shoes on or off?
Mike Tyler: "Without."
I was just curious about that since some fathers, especially fathers of linemen, sometime measure their sons with their shoes on. I guess that's because so many college coaches want their linemen to be 6-3 or above.
Mike Tyler: "That's why I played Ivy League ball. I'm between 6-0 and 6-1. Everybody in the southeast told me that I was 3 inches too short. I spent time at Yale where we won three Ivy League championships."
I have heard various rumors about which schools he is most interested in and will visit. How about telling me which schools he will visit.
Mike Tyler: "Right now, he has told Mississippi State that he will be there on January 11th for an official visit. He is supposed to go to South Carolina on December 14th, I believe, for an official visit. I think he is going to take an official (visit) to Central Florida the weekend before he goes to Mississippi State. The other two officials are up in the air.
"He has had a good bit of dealings with Clemson and Auburn. We are going down Saturday to see Florida play Tennessee. Florida has told us that they definitely are going to sign two quarterbacks and he is very high on their list."
You mentioned several schools that he is going to visit and a few others that are showing interest. Has he decided which colleges he is going to allow to come in for in-home visits?
Mike Tyler: "I believe we are going to try and limit it. We received some very good advice from Tommy Bowden early on. Tommy told us that we, 'need to pick out four, five or six schools that he is really interested in and concentrate on them.' He said, 'you will get overwhelmed if you don't.' (Justin) is kind of down to that five, six or seven school range. He is not sure, but if Michigan offers him the opportunity to go up there for an official (visit), he would probably visit them just to get out of the southeast and see somewhere else."
Is Michigan showing interest in him?
Mike Tyler: "I haven't talked to them this week but I did talk to them last week. They have got tape of him and are reviewing it, so, yes, they are still interested in him at this time."
You mentioned visits and calls from various schools, does he have any scholarship offers?
Mike Tyler: "Prior to the season, he received offers from Duke, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Wake Forest. He also got one from Central Florida."
You mentioned the schools that he is scheduled to visit and some others that are showing interest in him. Is he leaning to any particular school at this time?
Mike Tyler: "I think, as he gets a better feel about them, pretty much the ones he has set his official visits up with are the ones he is most interested in. Right now, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Central Florida are the three that he has official visits set up with. If I had to say, I would say it would come from those three. But now it is coming to the point where they can come in for in-home visits and call more than once a week. I'm sure there are some programs that will turn it up now."
Are you and his mother going to help him with his decision?
Mike Tyler: "I will, but wherever he goes he is going to have to live there for the next four to five years. He is going to have to be a major part in that decision."
Will you be taking the official visits with him?
Mike Tyler: "Maybe, some of them, but I will not go with him to all of them. I may not go with him when he goes to Starkville. I've met Sherrill, Tuberville and Bowden and I met the guys from Central Florida tonight (they were in for an in-home visit prior to my interview with Mike). I have not seen Central Florida's campus so I will probably go with him there."
How much of a factor will the returning quarterbacks have in his decision-making process?
Mike Tyler: "Personally, and I've tried to tell this to Justin, I think you need a redshirt year when making the step from high school to college. With Fant being a junior next year, Justin could redshirt his freshman year. That is about as good a situation as you can get. The actual quarterback competition is really not that great because (MSU) only has two scholarship players on the roster right now, Fant and York."
I'm not sure if anyone else has asked you about his baseball playing ability but he is ranked among the top baseball prospects in the country, according to Prospects Plus. Did you realize he was that highly thought of as a baseball player?
Mike Tyler: "Yes. I've had some people tell me he is going to be a top-3 round draft pick and some say he will be a top-10 round draft pick. I really don't know what to think."
What makes him so good as a baseball player?
Mike Tyler: "He hits for average and power. As a sophomore, I believe he batted about .425 and hit 16 home runs and 54 RBIs. His junior year he batted about .510 with 18 home runs and about 63 RBIs. He was 6-0 as a pitcher his sophomore year and 10-1 as a junior."
What is his fastball velocity?
Mike Tyler: "He throws in the high 80's, 88 to 89, bu he is not going to be a pitcher because everybody is looking at him as a hitter."
Is he going to try and play both sports in college?
Mike Tyler: "We talked to Jackie (Sherrill) about that. What Jackie told us is he would have his spring practices early enough so that he would be through with practice by the time the heat of the SEC competition was going on."
Have you or Justin talked to any college baseball coaches about Justin playing baseball for them?
Mike Tyler: "The funny thing about it is while Ron (Polk) was at Georgia we never heard from him. Georgia is a little bit different about the way they recruit. Anybody who is on a football call list for the University of Georgia, Vince Dooley will not allow baseball to call them. Ron (Polk) was at Georgia for two years and never made contact with Justin. I never could figure out why until after he left. I was talking to some of the guys and they told me it wasn't his doings; he was not allowed to by the University of Georgia. From what I have been told, Ron (Polk) is very, very familiar with Justin."
Does he like either sport more than the other?
Mike Tyler: "No, whatever is in season at the time is the one he goes all out for.
"I tried to play both in college and with me being a lineman and my weight fluctuating so much, I couldn't do it. With him being a skilled player, it will be easier on him."
You mentioned that you and your wife visited with Coach Sherrill and toured the Mississippi State campus last Monday. What did you think about Coach Sherrill and the campus?
Mike Tyler: "He was a lot different from the image you get off the television. He was a lot more personable. We were very impressed with him. It is hard to beat the campus. That is an absolutely great setting for a collegiate career."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.