Ryan Powers Commits to MSU

Ryan Powers (6-2, 190), considered one of the top infielders in the nation by Perfect Game USA, committed to Mississippi State this past weekend while on his official visit to State. Gene's Page caught up with his dad, Tom Powers, and talked about the official visit and commitment.

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Prior to the official visit, the Powers had concerns about the distance from their home state of New York to Mississippi.

"My wife, especially, was very concerned about the distance from home," said Tom. "We had some issues about academics and medical care due to how far away they are."

However, the MSU coaching staff answered every concern and issue that the Powers had.

"We were just overwhelmed with how well they are going to take care of our son," said Tom. "They just answered every question. In all the categories that were of interest to us, they did an outstanding job and didn't leave any rock unturned. They dotted every i and crossed every t. We were extremely impressed with everything there. And Ryan was overwhelmed with the entire program."

In fact, Ryan, rated the 113th best player in the nation by Perfect Game USA, was so impressed that he committed while they were still in their meeting with MSU head coach Ron Polk.

"When we were done with our meeting with Coach Polk, my son said to me that, 'I want to sign'," said Tom. "We were still in the office. I told him if that is what is what he wanted to do - and my wife shook her head - then he should do it. When Coach Polk came back and told Ryan that 'we would like for you to be a Bulldog', I think Ryan caught Coach Polk by surprise when he said, 'yes sir, I certainly do.' (Coach Polk) said, 'do you want to be a Bulldog today?' And Ryan said, 'yes sir, I do.' He then said, 'well' and put his hand out and they shook hands. It was a great moment."

And once he had made his commitment, Ryan, a 3rd team all-state selection after batting approximately .500 as a junior, was about as excited as a youngster could be.

"My son was walking on air," said the obviously proud father. "He's emotional, but he also hides his emotions very well. But he was very excited."

And Ryan, who plays for Beacon High School in New York, wasn't the only one excited. The MSU coaches, especially the assistants, didn't even pretend to hide their obvious excitement.

"I think Coach Polk probably hides his emotions a little bit, but you could tell how excited (assistant) Coach (Tommy) Raffo and (assistant) Coach (Russ) McNickle were," said Tom. "They really did all the recruiting leg work and were the ones who were close to Ryan. Coach Polk asked Coach Raffo to come out of his office and hear the news. (Raffo) came out and bellowed out a big yell, something like, 'yeah, that is great news,' when he was told the news. Then he got on the phone with Coach McNickle, who was at the Palmeiro Center, and (McNickle) came flying over with his car and screeched into the parking lot."

While the quick commitment was somewhat of a shock to Tom, it wasn't unexpected. Nor was there any commitment pressure from the MSU coaches.

"We weren't really thinking about making a commitment then," he said. "We wanted to weigh all our options and do what was best for Ryan, but (the MSU coaches) made it, more or less, almost impossible to walk away and not give Coach Polk a commitment. And Coach Polk never pressured us. Coach Raffo and Coach McNickle never pressured us. Not once did they ever pressure us into making a decision. And they knew we had at least one other official (visit) set up and a couple of others pending."

Tom explained the primary reason why he believed MSU was the right choice for his son.

"When we talked to people about recruiting, the common denominator was the school had to be the right fit," he said. "You can go to Mississippi State because of how big-time it is in baseball, but if it's not the right fit, then you don't want to go there. When we got through with the visit, (we knew) it was the right fit."

MSU beat out a lot of colleges for Ryan's commitment, including the likes of Alabama, Maine, UMass, Tennessee, Stetson, Boston College, New Orleans, Maryland, the College of Charleston, Virginia Tech, South Florida, Louisville, Clemson, New Orleans, Old Dominion, St. John's, Georgia Southern and numerous other northeast DI schools.

Tom listed most of the schools that showed interest and the ones they were, ultimately, most interested in.

"Alabama jumped in late," he said. "And we were going to consider them. Boston College. College of Charleston was definitely in the running because they are an up-and-coming program. They were ranked as high as 22nd in the country last year and ended up finishing 25th. Ryan established a very good relationship with the coach at Stetson. Old Dominion was also definitely in the running. New Orleans recruited him very hard. Early on in the process, Virginia Tech offered a visit. The University of Maine. St. John's offered a visit. The University of Maryland and Georgia Southern."

And several schools didn't even attempt to recruit him due to Mississippi State's interest.

"I also heard a few schools backed off when they heard about the Mississippi State interest," said Tom. "In fact, I heard through the grapevine that South Carolina was very interested in him. They never made an offer for a visit, but asked the coaches a million questions about Ryan."

However, while all of the above are quality schools with good baseball programs, one school - Mississippi State - stood out. And Ryan left no doubt about that when he committed this past weekend.

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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