[Premium article] Mississippi State is recruiting Olive Branch High School tight end Blake Pettit. I caught up with Blake Wednesday night. Here is my interview with him.

Hey, Blake. My name is Gene Swindoll. I have a webpage on the internet called Gene's Page. It is a Mississippi State sports webpage on the internet.
"Yes sir."

Have you got a few minutes to talk to me about your recruitment?

I believe Mississippi State is recruiting you. Is that correct?
"Yes sir, they are."

What is your actual height, weight and forty speed?
"I am about 6-5.5 and weight 225 right now. I weighed closer to 230 during the season. Now that I'm playing basketball, I've lost a little. I run a 4.83."

What position do you play on the basketball team?

How are you doing on the court?
"I'm doing pretty good. I scored 10 points last night."

Do you play any other sports?
"I play baseball also. I pitch and play first base."

What are you better at, pitching or hitting?
"I am probably better at pitching, but I have always been known for my hitting."

You know, I didn't you were so tall. Who do you get your height from in your family?
"My mom is a pretty tall woman, she is 5-8. My dad is 6-2."

I bet you have some uncles that are really tall?
"I have a cousin who played basketball for Mississippi State, Jay Walton. He is 6-7."

Do you talk to him much?
"No sir, he is a distant cousin. He is something like a third cousin."

I got off the subject. Let me get back to what I originally called you about. When did Mississippi State start recruiting you?
"Pretty much this summer when I came down for the football camp. I left straight from an Ole Miss camp to go to Mississippi State's. It was a seven-on-seven camp. I was on the same team as Jerious Norwood and Darren Williams."

Did you guys win the camp championship?
"We should have. We lost by a questionable call."

That's what they all say, Blake (laugh).
"(Laugh) Yes sir. We lost that game, but should have won it."

Mississippi State has been recruiting you since the summer? How in the world did I just find out about it?
"Yes sir, I didn't hear from them for a while. I heard from them in the summer and talked to them. Then, they just started calling me recently. They offered me about four weeks ago."

Oh, you've gotten a scholarship offer?
"Yes sir, from Mississippi State and Arkansas."

You must be a really good player to have offers from two SEC schools. You're not letting that go to your head, are you (laugh)?

I'm just joking with you.

As you get used to me, you will catch on to the fact that I joke around some. You may think to yourself, 'what in the world, is this guy serious.'
"(Laugh) That's the best way to do it."

Is it correct that you are coming into Mississippi State for a visit this weekend?
"Yes sir."

You mentioned Arkansas as another school that is recruiting you. What other schools are recruiting you other than Mississippi State and Arkansas?
"Other schools that have been recruiting me are Ole Miss, Auburn, Memphis, Vanderbilt, Southern Miss, Duke, and Princeton."

Are they all still actively recruiting you?
"Well, Duke and Vanderbilt aren't. Vanderbilt fired their coaches and they have just gotten in some new ones. That hurt me. The Duke coach came to one of my basketball games and was calling me regularly, then he called one day and said that he had gotten fired. I haven't heard from Auburn lately. They may have gotten another commitment that they wanted. I don't why, but I haven't heard from Memphis recently. Ole Miss calls occasionally, but not very often. They are limited to 13 scholarships."

Did you grow up a fan of any particular school?
"I can't say that I was a hard core fan of any school. I have always loved college football, though. Both of my parents went to Ole Miss, but neither one of them are the type that have to go to Ole Miss games. We might have gone to one a year. Some fans grow up and bleed Maroon if you graduate from Mississippi State and some fans bleed Blue and Red if you graduate from Ole Miss. My parents aren't like that, though. Here recently, I have been a Vanderbilt fan because my brother plays at Vanderbilt."

I believe I remember that. What classification is he?
"He was a redshirt sophomore this past football season. He is a junior in class, but a redshirt sophomore on the football field."

Obviously, based on some of the schools that you mentioned, you must be a very good student?
"Yes sir, I made a 25 on my ACT. I have about a 3.2 gpa. I'm not as good as I should be."

That's not a bad gpa, Blake.
"No sir, I've taken a lot of honors classes and a lot of hard classes. I haven't always taken the easiest classes. Our school is a pretty tough school even though it is a public school."

What are you going to major in?
"I think I'm going to major in Business Management or Accounting."

Well, back to recruiting. What schools have you set up official visits with other than Mississippi State?
"Mississippi State and Arkansas. Those are the two that I am going to. I go to Arkansas next weekend."

What are you feelings toward both schools? Are you leaning to either one of them at the moment?
"Not really, it is all about how I feel when I go on my visits. I have to make up my mind pretty quick. I have been to Starkville a couple of times, but I've really never gotten to know the place. I haven't gotten to know the coaches either, other than Coach Terry Lewis. He is the guy recruiting me."

What do you feel about him?
"He is a real nice guy. He is my position coach. I feel like he could really help in taking me to the next level."

You have never met Mississippi State head football coach, Jackie Sherrill?
"No, but he called my dad. My dad talked to him. Actually, I have met Coach Sherrill. I met him this summer (at the camp). He, and the offensive coordinator (Sparky Woods), came and talked to me."

I know you mentioned how you will feel at each school when you go in for a visit will be a factor in choosing what school you will sign with. What other factors will play a part in your decision?
"Academics mean a lot, but between Mississippi State and Arkansas, there is not a big difference in academics, really. Playing time will mean a lot, going in and contributing means a lot. Meeting the coaches will be a factor. I have talked to Coach Lewis from Mississippi State and Coach Pugh from Arkansas. Both of them are high caliber guys. I have also talked to Houston Nutt from Arkansas. I only talked to him briefly."

So basically, it looks like it is going to come down to how you get along with the players and coaches on your visits?
"Yes sir, where I feel like I can fit in the best."

What do you feel about visiting Mississippi State?
"I am real excited about going down this weekend. My mother, dad and myself are coming down."

What are you looking forward to?
"I am ready to make up my mind where I want to go. I am ready to meet all of the coaches, some of the kids, ready to see the facilities, I am ready to make a decision."

Thank you, Blake.
"Yes sir."

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 swindoll@genespage.com.

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