JUSTIN TYLER COMMITS TO MSU

[Premium article] Justin Tyler is a 6-4, 215-pound quarterback from Jones County High School in Gray, Georgia. Several publications list him among the top 25 quarterbacks in the south. He made first-team All-Middle Georgia and second-team All-State. Justin, a power-hitting third baseman, is also considered one of the top baseball players in the nation. In the latest Prospects Plus rankings, he is listed as the 141st best baseball player in the nation. He hit 34 home runs the past two seasons.

I talked with Mike, Justin's dad, and Justin Sunday night about their official visit to Mississippi State this past weekend.


Here is the Mike Tyler portion of the interview:

How long have you been back from your trip?
"We've been back about an hour and a half. The phone has been busy ever since we have been in."

You are kidding me (laugh)?
"Noooo...."

That's what happens after these trips. You get a bunch of people like me calling.
"That and he has been on the phone with his high school coaches or I have been on the phone with them. He flew back in. He has been here since about 3 o'clock. He is gone to a birthday party for one of his friends."

So you had to drive back home.
"We went out and worked this week. We were out in Grenada area earlier working -- we had to pick some equipment up -- and we dropped back by Starkville for his visit this weekend. We were in the truck, so it was much more comfortable for him to fly back."

You were there on his visit, how did it go?
"Kevin Fant hosted him and he thought a lot of Kevin. I think he and Kevin got along very well. I think he also spent a lot of time with all three of the Morgans (Rob, Josh and Brett). I wouldn't be surprised if he and Brett room together."

Room together, so the rumor that I've heard is true? [The rumor was Justin had committed to MSU this weekend. - Gene]
"It is."

When did he actually commit?
"He committed this morning after talking to Coach Polk. When I talked to him (Saturday) afternoon, he was fairly sure at that time that he was going to commit, but he wanted to talk to Coach Polk first."

Obviously, there was a reason or reasons he decided to commit. What impressed him so much that he would commit?
"He talked to Coach Polk and Coach Sherrill (Sunday) morning and it was a combination of the prestige of the two programs and playing in the SEC. He also had that opportunity with South Carolina, but he was more at ease with the campus and the students in Starkville. He met three or four of the baseball players. I just think he got a very good feel about everybody that he met. And the academic advisors were very impressive. He talked to Ann Carr and the MSU academic advisor for baseball. He also talked to several of the faculty representatives. Gillentine was the representative from the Education Department. We talked to him for a while and it seemed like the community there was ready to support the athletic department to make sure they got their degree. You get that feeling (at MSU) better than you do at a lot of other places."

As a parent, after visiting Mississippi State with your son this past weekend, do you feel confident that MSU is the place you want your son to be for the next four or five years?
"I felt very comfortable with Coach Tompkins, who is the recruiter for our area, Coach Sherrill and Coach Woods, who is his position coach. We met Coach Raffo (assistant baseball coach) and Coach Polk and spent a considerable amount of time with both of them."

Did you tour the baseball facilities?
"Coach Raffo gave us a very good tour of the baseball facilities Friday afternoon. Then, we were back over (Sunday) morning to see Coach Polk. We saw him at 10 o'clock this morning."

What did you think about Coach Polk?
"I liked Coach Polk. He is very straight forward."

What did the baseball coaches tell Justin about playing baseball at State?
"Coach Polk guaranteed him that he would be able to play (baseball). Justin understands when a conflict comes, football is paying the bills, but Coach Polk he would be there and that there is a very good relationship between the (football and baseball) staffs."

I'm not sure about this, but hasn't he visited South Carolina and Louisville?
"No, he was supposed to visit Louisville next week, but he is not going. He was at Central Florida last week."


Justin Tyler portion of the interview:

How about talking about your trip and what impressed you so much where you would, basically, commit the next five years of your life to Mississippi State?
"First off, I got there about 2 o'clock Friday afternoon. I flew in. I met all the coaches and the athletic director. I liked the campus, it was very clean and nice. Everybody was very nice, it was like a big family. It was like a home away from home. The players said you could talk to the coaches about anything and everything."

Were you leaning to Mississippi State prior to this official visit?
"Yes, I had already told my parents that if I liked it, I was going to commit this weekend. If not, I would go to Central Florida. That was the first time that I had been to the (Mississippi State) campus and I wanted to see everything before I committed."

When did you actually commit?
"I committed right after I talked to Coach Polk. I went and met with Coach Sherrill right after I talked to Coach Sherrill (and committed to him)."

Where did South Carolina wind up on your list of schools?
"They were after Central Florida. Actually, they already had five quarterbacks."

All of the recruits and their families went to the Golden Horn Friday night. What did you think about it?
"It was real good. I liked the food there. I'm going to have to go there again (laugh)."

What did you think about your host, Kevin Fant?
"He was very nice. My parents thought a lot of him. Actually, when I got there, I started talking and told him that they might redshirt me. He asked why and told me I needed to compete for the job. He said he was for the team and wants to help the team. My parents said they respected him a lot for that."

Other than Kevin, who else did you meet from the current team and the recruits in for the weekend?
"Brett Morgan and his two brothers. We stayed over there a lot. I think Brett and I are going to wind up rooming together next year."

What did you do Saturday?
"I had a meeting with Coach Sherrill Saturday morning at 9 o'clock. I met with him until 10 to 10:15."

What did you think about him?
"I liked him. He came to my house earlier. I've liked him since them.

"We had an academic meeting after that."

Your dad said you also toured the baseball facilities. What did you think about them?
"I liked them. The thing that I liked is they are getting a new (baseball) building (indoor workout facility)."

When did they say they would have that built?
"They think they are going to start right after the season ends."

What did you think about coaches Raffo and Polk?
"I liked Coach Raffo. He was the one who showed us around Friday. I met with Coach Polk (Sunday) morning. He is pretty funny; he is a character (laugh)."

What did the baseball coaches say about you playing baseball at Mississippi State?
"They said they were looking forward to having me on their team."

I'm curious about something, have any scouts talked to you about where you might be drafted next summer in the Major League Baseball draft?
"I've heard anywhere from 2nd round to 4th round."

Thanks for the interview, Justin.
"You are welcome."

Previous Justin Tyler articles:
Justin Tyler: 12/31/01
Justin Tyler: 11/30/01


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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