Discussing Brent Brownlee's Commitment to MSU

With a scholarship offer in hand, it didn't take Oxford High School senior outfielder Brent Brownlee long to make his decision while on his official visit to Mississippi State this past weekend.

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"He verbally committed to Mississippi State. He decided to commit during the (official) visit," said Brent's dad Sonny. "It mainly went back to his first camp there his freshman year. He and (MSU head baseball) Coach (Ron) Polk really hit it off that first camp. He's kind of kept up with Brent since then. Brent's been back to their winter camp one year. And they have kind of being his first choice on the schools. He was just waiting on an offer."

And Brent's official visit to State this past weekend sealed the deal for he and his family.

"We went to State this weekend and saw their facilities for baseball. Everything was nice," said Sonny. "The freshmen dorms were ok. He met more players this weekend also. He met with the academic advisor and saw their commitment to academics. Brent is very academic oriented. And he just got the feeling that was where he belonged."

And his parents couldn't be happier with his decision.

"We are excited for Brent," said Sonny. "He's worked real hard over the years. And it's SEC baseball with one of the premiere programs in the SEC."

For awhile, though, it wasn't a sure thing that he would receive an offer, much less an SEC offer because of a shoulder injury he suffered during his junior football season.

"I dislocated my shoulder (during) the Lafayette (football) game of last year, my junior season. And I tore my labrum on my throwing shoulder," explained Brent. "They had to put nine screws in it. I've been doing therapy since January 4th. I'm about 85% now. I'm throwing from center field and I'm throwing it pretty level, too. They believe I should get back to 100%, probably sometime around December. They said labrum injuries are common and really don't hold back anything."

Brent, up until his shoulder injury, was being recruited by three other schools in addition to State.

"Auburn, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State recruited me," said the 6-1, 165-pounder. "And a little bit Delta State. Sometime last February we told the Auburn assistant coach that I had an (shoulder) injury. Since then, we haven't heard much from them. Vanderbilt didn't really stick with me, either. State kept in touch with me and stuck with me."

While you might think Brent would be upset with the teams giving up on him, he really wasn't because the team that meant the most to him did stick with him.

"I love State," said Brent. "I went to (State's) camp my freshman and sophomore summers. And I loved it there. Coach Polk is a great guy. When I was a freshman, they did a showcase the very last day of their camp. The outfielders threw three throws apiece. Coach Polk told me then that he really liked my arm. He told me to stay in touch and keep coming to their camp and things would work out. I did that, then I had this (shoulder) injury. I thought it might hinder my ability to get a scholarship because a lot of people told me that the junior year is your prime season and that I wouldn't get any offers now. But State stuck with me and offered me last week."

Although he was limited in what he could do in baseball due to the type injury he has, it didn't stop him from participating in another sport.

"He started track in February," said Sonny. "That was the first year to go out for track. He did it to help rehab his shoulder."

And to say he did well is definitely an understatement.

"He came in fourth in the long jump and high jump in the state," noted Sonny.

But track will have to be a one-year deal because Brent will be back on the diamond trying to help his team win a state championship this coming season. Then, he takes his athletic ability to Mississippi State.

And he couldn't be happier.

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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