Tyler Whitney Visits Mississippi State

National baseball powers like Mississippi State, LSU, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Florida and Baylor have shown strong interest in Tyler Whitney, one of the top lefthanded pitchers in the southeast. Despite all the attention from so many of the top programs in the nation, Tyler quickly made a decision that he was going to stay close to home, so he cut his list down to three schools - Memphis, Mississippi State and Ole Miss - all of whom are close to his hometown of Memphis.

The first of the three to receive an official visit was Mississippi State.

"It was awesome," said Tyler Whitney, of his visit to MSU this past weekend. "The overall impression was the people were just awesome. It's one of the friendliest towns that I've ever seen. In fact, I had to remind myself that I was a recruit and not a student just because I felt like I was almost a part of a big family."

Part of the reason he felt so at home was due to his player-host, Justin Pigott. And the other MSU players that he met.

"I got to spend a couple of days with Justin Pigott, my player-host," said Tyler. "He treated me more like a friend than a recruit. Overall, I formed a great impression of him. And the other players that he introduced me to also seemed like real nice guys."

Tyler also enjoyed seeing the Mississippi State facilities, facilities that are some of the best in the nation.

"We toured all the facilities Friday night, including the weight room and the Palmeiro Center - which is spectacular - and the field and clubhouse," said Tyler. "We ate dinner in the skybox with (MSU head) Coach Polk and the rest of the (MSU assistant) coaches and their wives."

He came away impressed with the MSU coaching staff, two of whom he had already gotten to know from his phone conversations with them the past few months.

"I already knew Coach McNickle and Coach Raffo real well from talking to them the last few months," said Tyler. "But this was my first time to really get to sit down and talk to Coach Polk face to face. That was really neat and I formed a very good impression of him."

Tyler's mom, Cindy, confirmed everything that Tyler said about the visit.

"We had a wonderful time," said Cindy. "They treated us very well. We didn't meet anybody that wasn't just super friendly. They were very organized and very informative. I knew about their program under Coach Polk, but that was about all I knew. We had already met Coach Raffo and Coach McNickle. Other than that, I didn't know much about the school and the support that they provide their student-athletes. They stressed academics so much and I'm really impressed with that. I love watching him play baseball, but I want him to get an education."

And like any mother, she also wants to know that her son is not only going to a college that will provide a good education, but one that will also provide a safe campus and people who will care for her son. And it appears MSU met all of those requirements.

"I don't know if I can be 100% comfortable with anything, but as far as the security, the safety of the campus, the character of the men that I met this weekend, I feel good about all of those," said Cindy. "Character is important to us. We stress it with our children. I don't know if you know much about us, but we are a very strong Christian family. Baseball is fun, and he's gotten a lot of attention from it, but we told him years ago if we ever saw his character slipping due to anything baseball-related, then we would have to cut out baseball. And fortunately, we've never had to do that."

Now that Tyler and his family have taken their first official visit, what are their plans as far as the other two schools that are on Tyler's list?

"I have one more (official) visit, Memphis, the weekend of October 1st," said Tyler. "We canceled the Ole Miss visit."

He explained why he canceled his Ole Miss visit.

"Once I went to Mississippi State, I came to the conclusion that there was no way that I was going to choose them over State," said Tyler, who has unofficially visited Ole Miss numerous times. "So, I called (Ole Miss head) Coach Bianco and told him to offer my scholarship to someone else."

So, now it is down to two.

Keep it right here to find out which one of those two schools will be lucky enough to get the signature of this outstanding young baseball player and person.

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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