Jet Butler Talks About His Commitment to MSU

Tate (Cantonment, FL) High School's Jet Butler, who became Mississippi State baseball's first commitment when he committed to them on September 5th, talked about his decision to sign with MSU as well as his overall recruitment.

A year ago, Mississippi State was barely on Jet Butler's recruiting radar screen. And if it hadn't been for his dad, Skip Butler, they might not have even been on his screen.

"Originally, I didn't know much about them," said the highly recruited youngster. "I liked a lot of schools at first, but my dad told me that I needed to keep an eye on Mississippi State. I ended up going there on a Junior Day and thought that they were a pretty cool place. Before that, I didn't know much about them other than knowing that they had a great baseball tradition and about (MSU head baseball) Coach (Ron) Polk."

However, from that day forward, Mississippi State became the school that would determine how his recruitment went.

"Since then, I wanted to wait and see what happened with Mississippi State because it seemed like it was the place where it would work for me," said Butler, ranked the 103rd best player in the nation by Perfect Game in their High School Class of '06, Top 300 (dated September 23rd).

And after Jet took his official visit to Mississippi State, it didn't take him long to know where he wanted to play college baseball.

"I visited Mississippi State the Murray State (football game) weekend and committed the day after my visit," said Jet, who canceled official visits to Florida and Miami. "After I went on my visit, it was an easy decision because I just knew it was the perfect fit for me. I just knew that I was supposed to go to Mississippi State."

He explained the reasons why MSU stood out.

"Obviously, Coach Polk is just awesome," said Jet. "I've heard so many good things about him. I've also gotten to know his assistants and I really like them a lot. The facilities are great. It's a really friendly town. It's just a great baseball program. They said there is nothing like playing there. And that's really what I was looking for. It seemed to have all the pieces to the puzzle."

Jet's dad was one of those who told him good things about Coach Polk.

"I have always been a huge Coach Polk fan and have a great deal of respect for him," said Skip, who played baseball at Mississippi College in the 1970's. "I played against him his first year at Mississippi State in 1976."

While Coach Polk and his overall baseball program were the deciding factors in Jet's decision, don't discount the Mississippi State coaches way of recruiting him.

"They recruit in a different way," said the 6-2, 187-pounder. "A lot of people try to put pressure on you, but they are different. They are first-class in everything."

And his dad agreed with him 100%.

"State is totally different from just about how every other program does recruiting," said Skip. "A lot of programs try to get you to commit in June. (MSU assistant) Coach (Tommy) Raffo made it clear that their recruiting process was going to be different. They made it clear that Coach Polk was not going to compromise in how he did things. And it was refreshing how everything they said, they stuck by it. The integrity of those guys stand apart from almost every other program in the country."

However, while the MSU staff don't high pressure a recruit, they do make sure he knows when they are very interested.

"Coach Raffo and Coach McNickle both came to several games together and watched him play," said Skip. "And everyone on the staff called him. (MSU assistant) Coach (Wade) Hedges called him one week and told him that was his week. We thought that was great because we got to know every one of them a little bit. While all of them were involved, Coach Raffo and Coach McNickle were the most involved."

Considering how hectic Jet's recruiting process was, it's easy to understand why he found Mississippi State's low pressure style of recruiting refreshing.

"July 1st (the first day college coaches could call recruits) was kind of crazy, because I think I got something like 20 phone calls that day," said the switch-hitter. "I think I was contacted by everyone in the SEC and ACC except for a couple of them. It was wild! The calls started about 9 or 10 that morning. I didn't have any idea that it would be like that. I got mail from a lot of people, but you don't really know who is really interested in you."

And the calls were just the beginning.

"He had offers to take visits to a lot of schools, a lot of schools," said Skip.

And he also had numerous scholarship offers, even before he took any official visits.

"I received offers from several SEC and ACC schools," said Jet.

But Jet and his family decided early on who he was most interested in.

"The only programs he was seriously considering were Mississippi State, Florida, Miami, and Georgia Tech," said Skip. "And he hadn't said no to South Alabama. He tried to tell programs as early as possible when he knew he wasn't going there."

Once the schools were whittled down to a select few, the Butler's then set up official visits. And, in a few cases, unofficial visits.

"I unofficially visited Georgia Tech," said Jet, who also unofficially visited numerous other high profile schools. "I had (official) visits scheduled for Mississippi State, Florida and Miami. Those were the ones that I was most interested in."

Considering his family history, it was probably in his destiny to choose Mississippi State over the other schools.

"My grandfather was a Rhodes Scholar who received one of his degrees from Ole Miss," said Jet, who played shortstop for his high school. "He's a diehard Ole Miss fan. Both of my parents went to Mississippi College. My dad played against Coach Polk during Coach Polk's first year at Mississippi State. My sister, who is a senior, plays softball at Southern Miss. Everybody in my family has ended up in college in Mississippi."

And now he will, too. And who knows, he might even convert his grandfather into becoming a Bulldog fan.


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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