Jones Talks About His MSU Commitment

Devin Jones, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher from Eupora High School, talks about his commitment to Mississippi State and his development as a pitcher the past 2+ years.

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Devin made his commitment known Tuesday afternoon after officially visiting MSU this past weekend. It had come down to Mississippi State and Ole Miss with MSU winning out due to academics.

"Academics is what really finalized my decision because I was mainly concentrating on Aerospace Engineering," said the 4.0 grade point average student. "That's what really got me because that's what I've always wanted to do - go to school, play baseball and major in something that designs or tests airplanes. That's something that's always been very important to me. And Mississippi State has an awesome Aerospace Engineering program. Ole Miss doesn't have the specific type engineering that I wanted and that's really what I'm concentrating on right now - Aerospace Engineering.

But, to be totally honest, Mississippi State probably had the lead even before the visit.

"I've always followed Mississippi State sports, always, since I could pretty much understand what was going on," said the 6-3, 170-pounder. "I've always loved Mississippi State. Mississippi State has pretty much been the main place I've wanted to go - to pitch at Dudy Noble."

A dual position player who not only pitches but played centerfield and shortstop, Devin believes he will be given a shot to not only pitch but hit as well.

"(MSU head) Coach (Ron) Polk told me if I come out and prove myself as a hitter, he'll take a look at me," said Devin. "When I get to State I'm going to work as hard as I can and see what happens."

But based on his progress as a pitcher since he was a 10th grader, don't be surprised to see him pitching more than hitting during his career at Mississippi State.

"My 10th grade year I was persistent on trying to be a pitcher, but I was only throwing 82 to 83 miles per hour tops," said Devin, who made second-team All-State as a 10th grader due to his hitting. "Then, my 11th grade year I started focusing on pitching because my pitching wasn't really that good my 10th grade year. I also got a little stronger. I went from throwing 83 to throwing about 86 to 87."

But even then, very few people knew about him. That changed late last year, though.

"I'm from a small town so nobody really had heard of me. Then, I went to Columbus (MS) November of last year for a showcase and topped out at 88," said Devin. "(Former Major League Baseball pitcher) Mo Sanford was there. He coaches pitching for a 17-year old team called the Cincy Flames. I played for them during the entire summer. Mo taught me a lot of things that I would have never thought of. It helped me out pitching and I ended up hitting 90 about a month later."

And he's continued to work hard since returning home from his Cincinnati summer. And his fastball velocity has increased as well.

"I worked out hard from August until late September and I ended up hitting 93 at Dudy Noble during a game between the Mississippi Prospects and a team from Birmingham," said Devin. "I threw two innings and ended up topping out at 93 and threw consistently between 89 and 91."

With the body type that he has (6-3, 170) and a steadily increasing fastball velocity, it's obvious the pro teams will become interested. But it appears signability will be a key factor with this academically-orientated youngster.

"Since I have been little, it has always been academics first and baseball second. It's always been that way," said Devin. "I would really, really like to get my education at Mississippi State before I really think about the pros. If it's a ridiculous amount of money, then what 17 or 18-year guy could turn that down, but I'm not expecting that at all."

Devin is one of six high school baseball players that is expected to sign with Mississippi State during the early signing period.


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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