Tyler Whitney Narrows it to Three

Memphis, Tennessee native Tyler Whitney, one of the top lefthanded pitchers in the southeast, has narrowed his list of schools to three. Who are the lucky finalists?

Tyler Whitney Profile

Since my last conversation with Whitney, he's narrowed his list of schools to three: Memphis, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. When asked why those three schools made his list, Whitney had this to say.

"I'll start out with Mississippi State," said Whitney, who recently received an in-home visit from MSU's Russ McNickle, as well as Birmingham Southern and Memphis. "There are a lot of different things I like about them. They have really taken an interest in knowing me as a person. And they have gone the extra step to recruit me more than just from the athletic standpoint. I love that. And I went down there in the spring and loved the atmosphere. I love the coaches. They have a good team that is in a great conference. So, just all-around, I think it would be a pretty good fit to go there.

"Memphis is a program that hasn't had much success in the past, but I really feel they are taking the right steps to get there. And I love the coaching staff. I know a lot of the players because I have played with them in the past. And it's in my hometown.

"Ole Miss is only an hour and a half away from my house. I like the coaches. It's a great program, great school in a great conference.

"I pretty much knew those were the three schools that I had an interest in going to. I had a lot of time to think about it and feel like I made the right choice. They are all great schools and I know I will make the right choice."

As for Mississippi State, his knowledge of them has grown even more due to the great in-home visit he and his family had with Coach McNickle.

"Out of the three, Russ McNickle probably had the most informative visit," said Whitney. "He gave me day-by-day detail of what their pitchers go through, which was really what I wanted to know. He gave me an overview of their entire program, although I already knew a lot about it. But he went more in-depth. He also went in-depth as to what they are looking for from their pitchers."

And what is it that they are looking for from him? In other words, why are they recruiting him so hard?

"They've said since day one that lefthanded pitching was the main concern that they need to address," said the young lefty. "So I think, probably me being lefthanded had the most to do with it. Character is very important to me. And I think that anybody who knows anything about that program, knows that character is very important to them, too. And I think they felt that would be a good fit due to both of us having a desire to build character. And I don't think they would recruit me unless they felt I could play in the SEC."

And there is no doubt many other SEC schools and schools outside of the conference feel the same way as the MSU coaches do about Whitney's ability to play on a level as high as the SEC, at least based on the number of programs that recruited him in addition to his final three.

"Birmingham Southern, Baylor and Vanderbilt showed pretty serious interest," said Whitney. "And Southeast Missouri State offered me a full ride the first time they called me. But I didn't have much interest in going there, so I turned it down about a week and a half ago. Baylor hung with me for a couple of weeks, but I raised a few concerns and pretty much all but said I wasn't coming. As the weeks progressed, a lot of (other) schools just dropped out because I didn't show much interest in them. And I think they picked up on that. Schools that got off me pretty quick were LSU, Florida and Arkansas."

With his list now narrowed down, the next step in the recruiting process is to set up official visits. And, as you would expect, this quietly confident youngster has all but concluded that as well.

"Memphis and Mississippi State have set up official visits," said Whitney. "Mississippi State's is September 2nd and Memphis' is October 1st. I want to go to Ole Miss sometime in between those."

One of those three schools has already offered a scholarship and, according to Whitney, the other two will offer on his official visits.

"Memphis has offered," said Whitney. "Mississippi State is waiting until I get on campus to make their offer. And Ole Miss is doing the same thing."

Speaking of scholarship offers, will the amount of scholarship money be a major factor in his final college choice?

"I'm not really looking for a specific amount, because I know that will vary from school to school," said Whitney. "I know Ole Miss, with the success they have had, can't start giving out big scholarships to just one person. They spread it out. That's how you field a good team. So I know it will vary from school to school. But as far as how big of an impact it will make on what school I sign with, I don't think it will matter. My parents have made it clear to me to go where I want to go to."

With the amount of the offer not being that big of a factor, what will be the difference maker when it comes to choosing a college?

"I'm looking at everything about all the schools," he said," but most importantly, I really think that God has one specific school in mind for me in His plan. And I'm really going to pray and seek His will until he shows me which school that is. That will be the ultimate (factor in my) decision."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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