Ryan Collins Commits to MSU

Rutherford High School (Panama City, FL) outfielder Ryan Collins (6-2, 195) and his dad, Carl, talked about Ryan's decision to commit to Mississippi State.

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"I liked the campus and the country atmosphere. It was real laid back," said Ryan. "And you can't beat the coaches or facilities. (MSU assistant) Coach (Tommy) Raffo was the main one that recruited me. Their coaches were top of the line. They are great people and knew a lot about what they talked about."

While his commitment was ultimately his choice, his dad was just as happy about it as Ryan.

"(Ryan's) happy as all get out. It was such a good fit. We are very excited about (his commitment)," said Carl. "He called Coach Raffo on the 17th (of September) and told him that he decided to commit to them. Coach Raffo said 'I'll be able to sleep tonight' (laugh). Coach Raffo put (MSU head) Coach (Ron) Polk on the phone and he was real happy, too."

Carl dicussed his impressions of State after taking the official visit with Ryan.

"(Mississippi State) was very impressive, certainly the stadium. But I would say above and beyond that it would have to be the coaches. They are coaches that you can feel comfortable with it. I think they are coaches that will be able to relate to the boys," noted Carl. "You are playing for a legendary coach in Coach Polk. I was in awe meeting him. He is so down to earth. Coach Raffo, (assistant) Coach (Russ) McNickle, (assistant) Coach Wade (Hedges); all of them were fantastic."

Playing time and the players also figured in the equation.

"Looking at their roster, there looks like there is a greater opportunity for him to play as an outfielder," explained Carl. "Ryan's host was (true freshman) Jet (Butler). He (also) got to meet most of the (other) players. His comment was, 'dad, I feel like I fit in already.' That was pretty cool."

And like you would expect from a parent, academics are right up there with the athletic side when choosing a college. To say MSU passed with flying colors would probably be an understatement based on Carl's comments.

"Another thing that really helped me was the academic side. We met Ray Berryhill who is the academic advisor. What a tremendous job he did in outlining the program," said Carl. "If you need a tutor, you have a tutor. You have the mandated (study hall) time, which I like. And they track it. All freshmen live their freshmen year in the dorm. I feel very good that not only is he going there to be able to play ball, but that my son will be able to walk out of there with a degree that is going to mean something."

Carl also came away with a very high opinion of the town of Starkville, the home of Mississippi State.

"Starkville is in a beautiful location. I love the town. The university is the town. That's what I like about it. I just felt real good about it," he said.

Ryan chose Mississippi State over an offer from Troy University and strong interest from Alabama and Miami.

"We made an unofficial visit to Troy and they made us an offer while we were there," said Carl. "We followed that up with the official visit to Mississippi State. He also had Alabama and Miami talking to him as well. We had an opportunity to visit Alabama, but we chose not to after the Mississippi State visit because we were happy with what we saw and didn't really see any need to go elsewhere. The last discussion that Ryan had with (Alabama), they said they wanted him to come to their showcase. They indicated to Ryan that they were going to make an offer after the showcase, but they wanted to see him personally first. Miami was pretty much the same way, they wanted to see him play, but from everything they had heard (about him), they had a very high interest."

Although Ryan also pitches in high school, the MSU coaching staff, according to Carl, recruited Ryan exclusively for the outfield.

"Their sole purpose with him was to recruit him as an outfielder. That's what they saw him doing this summer," noted Carl. "They followed him for three tournaments with the Bama Bombers and really liked what they saw. He hit over .500 in all three tournaments."

Ryan is Mississippi State's 7th baseball commitment. The others are listed below.

  • Forrest Moore, a LHP from Parkview Baptist.
  • Michael Busby, a RHP from Porter's Chapel.
  • Cody Freeman, a catcher from West Lauderdale High School.
  • Paxton Pace, pitcher/infielder also from West Lauderdale High School.
  • Tyler Moore, an outfielder from Meridian Community College.
  • Lee Swindle, a RHP from Meridian Community College.

    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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