The Mississippi State coaching staff received very good news about a week and a half ago when corner infielder Connor Powers committed to them. Connor explained why he decided to cast his lot with MSU.
"I really like the coaching staff. (MSU head) Coach (Ron) Polk and (Assistant) Coach (Tommy) Raffo made me comfortable with my decision to go down south because it is a little far from home," said Connor, who also officially visited Purdue, Iowa and Illinois State. "The baseball atmosphere was unbelievable when I went there. All the people were so nice, especially the people out in the Left Field Lounge. Everybody that I talked to couldn't have been nicer."
Does he have any other thoughts about MSU?
"I knew they were a really good baseball program, but I didn't know that much about the school and how it was set up," said Connor. "I thought it was going to be a little bit bigger, although I'm not saying the campus is too small. But at the same time, I think I like that more than (I would like) a big school where there are 40,000 people."
Considering he's from Illinois, how did the Mississippi State coaching staff find out about him?
"My hitting instructor sent a kid down there. Or he was supposed to go there, but he ended up getting drafted in the second round or some round like that and took the money," said the two-time All-State performer. "He was pretty familiar with Coach Polk and he knew I wanted to go to a warm-weather school. So, he called Coach Polk for me. He said Coach Polk asked him if I wanted to come to their camp. This was in November, so they couldn't come to see me play. I went to their (winter) camp and they liked me and brought me in for an official visit. That's pretty much how it happened. "
Who recruited him for Mississippi State?
"Coach Polk originally called me, but Coach Raffo dealt with a lot of the travel stuff," said Connor, who chose MSU over scholarship offers from Purdue, Iowa and Illinois State. "So, it started off with Coach Polk, then, as it went on, it was more Coach Raffo."
What are the things the State coaches like about him. And what are some things he feels needs improvement?
"I would probably say my hitting ability, hitting for average and power. I hit well and I can run a little bit, too," said Connor, who will play one of three positions at State (3B, 1B, OF). "My fielding definitely needs improvement. But that's something that I can work on."
And Connor does have home run power. He's hit 12 home runs in 40 games over the course of the past two season. Some people might wonder if his power is legit. So, I asked him that very question. And Connor was very upfront with his answer.
"Our home field is not that big, but I don't really hit many home runs there," noted Benet's three-slot hitter. "It's something like 320 down the lines, but when I hit home runs they go over by a lot. We played on a field last Thursday that has the same dimensions as Wrigley Field. It was 355 down the left field line and I hit two home runs. I hit one down the left field line and one over the 390 sign."
He hit the two home run in the 2006 Schaumburg Flyers High School Baseball Classic last week. For his efforts in that tournament, he was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
Great hitter who hits for power and has decent running speed for a big man - any possibility that Major League Baseball and the June draft will factor into his recruiting equation?
"I am receiving some attention I guess," he said. "But I don't honestly know what they are thinking. I'm not slotted real high."
But he is slotted high by the Mississippi State coaches. Connor is expected to sign his National Letter of Intent and scholarship papers with Mississippi State in the next few days.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.