"I've committed to Mississippi State," said Mark, who will sign with MSU in the next couple of days. "I also considered Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn. I had visits set up with them later in the month."
Mark has already visited several of the schools.
"I visited Auburn, Ole Miss, Memphis," said Mark, who is currently taking summer classes at the University of Memphis. "I cancelled my visits to the others."
Mark chose to transfer from Birmingham Southern after the Birmingham-Southern College Board of Trustees voted to seek permission from the NCAA to reclassify its intercollegiate athletics program from Division I to non-scholarship Division III beginning with the 2007-08 academic year. Once he was cleared to transfer numerous high-profile schools contacted him.
"As soon as we found out, I was looking to go somewhere else," said Mark, who bats left and throws right. "I was wondering where (former BSC head) Coach (Brian) Shoop was going to but that didn't work out for me and my family. Then, there was a blanket release sent to all the division-I schools. And they started calling after that."
Mark explained why he decided to transfer to Mississippi State over the other colleges that recruited him.
"I liked their situation," said the 6-1, 180-pounder. "I could come in and have an opportunity to play and to play under (MSU head) Coach (Ron) Polk and (MSU assistant) Coach (Tommy) Raffo. And I like the atmosphere and the tradition of Mississippi State baseball."
While MSU ultimately won out, he actually was a fan of another school while growing up.
"I grew up an Ole Miss fan just because my cousin played football there," said Mark. "It wasn't so much Ole Miss baseball, but Ole Miss football due to growing up close to it. But I always knew about Mississippi State baseball, but I didn't think I would get to play there. And State is a better fit for me."
Now, he will. And the Mississippi State coaching staff couldn't be happier because Mark was one of the top freshmen baseball players in the nation last year, earning Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors after hitting .363, scoring 56 runs and stealing 27 of 29 bases. Mark also led BSC with 28 multi-hit games and concluded the season with a 16-game hitting streak.
"It was a big honor," said the outfielder of his selection. "I had thought in the back of my mind it would be cool to get, but I never thought it was realistic. I did the things my coach told me to do and it worked out that I was pretty successful."
Mark played his high school ball at Covington High School in Covington, Tennessee. After batting .417 with 36 steals in 37 attempts as a senior, he was selected All-State. He was also a three-year All-District selection. He is the son of Rick and Lora Lee Goforth.
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 email@example.com.