A Q&A With Jeff Hunter

Gene's Page did a Q&A with former Mississippi State baseball player Jeff Hunter. Jeff talked about what he's been doing since he played at State as well as his new business AdvantEdgeSports.

Your last year with Mississippi State was in 2001. Where did you go from there?
"I played independent baseball in Ohio in the Frontier League where I met my wife, Kara. I played there two years. I played against (former MSU baseball player) Phillip Willingham."

Once you were through playing ball what did you do?
"I came back and worked for my dad at Tupelo Rubber and Gasket. While I was doing that, Kirk Presley, who owns Performance Sports, asked me to do (baseball) lessons, something that I had never thought of doing. Then, when I got around the kids I realized I could really help them.

"When Will Lowry bought the place (from Kirk) I went full-time working with him. And I absolutely loved it. If I won the lottery today, I would be back tomorrow morning working. I would never stop doing this because I love it. (Tupelo High School senior) Chris Stratton came up to me last year and shook my hand and thanked me for all that I had done for him. That makes it all worthwhile."

Since then, didn't you purchase it from Lowry?
"Yes, I purchased it from him three months ago. The name of it is AdvantEdgeSports."

Tell me a little about what you do at AdvantEdgeSports.
"We have speed, agility, strength training and all aspects of baseball instruction. We are expanding our 20,000 square foot building. We have a full gym, seven batting cages and an open area that is 100' by 60'. I'm also putting a full infield on the land in the back of our facility and we are going to have 100 yards by 60 yards to do our football training."

Who do you have working for you?
"Deandre Eiland, the 6th round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2004, played football for Lou Holtz at the University of South Carolina and he ran track there. Johnny Bruce, who played at Freedman Harding, is going to do our speed, hitting and fielding. Josh West, who played at Mississippi State, will do hitting and some pitching instruction. And I do all aspects of baseball."

What age groups can participate?
"Ages from five-years old on up. We keep it real simple for the younger kids. We have parents who come in who say they won't listen to them any longer. Which is true, but they will listen to us. We are younger guys who have just gotten out of the game, so it's pretty fresh on our minds."

Who are some guys you have helped who have received college scholarships?
"There are around nine of them. Kyle Thornton signed with Ole Miss. Chris Stratton has committed to Mississippi State. And we have a lot of junior college guys - Nathan Flanigan, Joseph Koon, Channing Walker, Evan Lival, Clint Alford, Wes McCullough and several others who have all signed within the past two years."

You obviously have helped these kids. But what specifically have you done to help them?
"During the fall, I put on a pitching clinic. It's an hour and a half twice a week. I have a group of 8 to 10 guys. They stretch before and after, do abs, then we throw making sure they are concentrating on their mechanics. I put the radar gun on them the first day and do the same thing at the end of the two months. At the end of the two months, they had an average gain on their fastball of 6 to 8 miles per hour. That's with the 12-year-olds all the way up to the high school group.

"(Senior-to-be) Chris (Stratton) came in throwing 78 to 79 (miles per hour) and ended up in the mid-80's right out of the box. And he jumped up to 91 during the year. (Graduate) Kyle (Thornton) came in hitting 83 to 84, but he couldn't throw it near anything. He was really, really wild. In two months I got him up to 88 to 91 (consistently), his slider was around 81 and his changeup was 12 miles different. The next week he went to Ole Miss and they signed him to a scholarship."

If you are interested in having your son take lessons from Jeff and his staff, he can be reached by email at astupelosports@gmail.com. For more information about his company, his website address is AdvantEdgeSports.com

Below are some baseball players Jeff is currently working with or who have participated in at least one of his camps. Click on their names to go to their profile pages (the one exception is 8th grader Tyler Beard due to a lack of classification by Scout.com for athletes below the 9th grade). I did a few minutes of video of each player during a recent workout (you have to have a Scout.com subscription to view the premium videos).

  • Jack Hill - 10th grader, Tupelo HS, RHP, 6-4, 175 (Velocity - FB 77-78, CB 59-60, CU 65) -

  • Ben Hudspeth - 10th grader, Tupelo HS, RHP/C, 5-10, 165 (FB 77-79, CB 65-68, CU 68-70) -

  • J.D. Roberts - 10th grader, Tupelo HS, LHP/OF, 5-9, 130 (FB 68-71, CB 63-65, CU 64-65) -

  • Tyler Beard (no profile page made) - 8th grader, Tupelo Middle School, RHP, 5-9, 163 (FB 73-74, CB 60-61, CU 69) -

  • Eric Baumann - 10th grader, Saltillo HS, C, 6-2, 185 -

  • Connor Carothers - 10th grader, OF/1B, Tupelo HS, 6-3, 180 -

  • Wesley Reed - 10th grader, 1B, Saltillo HS, 5-9, 165 -

  • Ryan Hill - 10th grader, 2B, Amory HS, 5-8, 150 -

  • Wesley Boock - 12 grader, 1B, Amory HS, 5-10.5, 160 -

    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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