MSU Receives Commitment From A Hidden Diamond

The Mississippi State baseball coaching staff received a commitment Monday morning from Oak Grove High School junior James McMahon.

"I called (MSU assistant) Coach (Lane) Burroughs this morning and told him I wanted to go to State," said McMahon, who plays both third base and pitches for Oak Grove. "He asked me if I was committing and I said I was. He told me he was excited about the commitment. I guess I'm part of the Bulldog family now."

Actually, you might say that he's been part of the Bulldog family a little longer than a day.

"I have always been a Mississippi State fan," said McMahon who also quarterbacks his high school team. "My mom went to Mississippi State and my sister is a junior at State. That's really all that I have known."

McMahon received his scholarship offer from Mississippi State this past weekend.

"I went to the South Carolina game and they offered me Sunday," said the 6-1, 200-pounder. "I am really honored to have a chance to play there. This means a whole lot to me. I feel blessed because I wouldn't be able to do any of this without God."

State was one of two schools showing early interest in the youngster.

"Mississippi State is actually the only place that I have visited," said McMahon. "I went to one of Southern Miss' camps. And they said they were interested in me. But I've always been a State fan."

State first found out about McMahon a couple of winters ago when former coach Ron Polk was still the head coach.

"I went to their winter camp two years in a row," said the righty. "My first one Ron Polk was still there. And the second one Coach (John) Cohen was there. They talked to me after that camp and asked me to stay with 20 other guys."

And just a few days later they started recruiting McMahon.

"Coach Burroughs and Coach Butch Thompson emailed me in the beginning, and Coach (John) Cohen has emailed me lately," said McMahon. "Coach Burroughs emailed me and told me that he likes my toughness as a competitor."

In addition to that toughness, he's got something you rarely find from a guy as young as he is - a power arm.

"I throw a split finger, a curveball, I'm being working on a slider lately, and a fastball," said McMahon. "This year, I topped out at 93. I hit that once, and I've hit 92 a good bit. I'm consistently between 88 and 91."

Surprisingly, very few college coaches, other than the Bulldog staff, know about his arm strength. But there's a reason for that.

"This year is my first year to pitch," said McMahon. "I started pitching at the beginning of this season in late January. My coach asked me if I could pitch. I tried it for a couple of bullpens. We had a black and gold intrasquad game, and that's when I hit 91. When they saw that, they said they were going to try to use me as a reliever."

And it appears he could wind up doing the same thing at Mississippi State.

"I asked Coach Burroughs when I was in his office what they were recruiting me for and he said for my hitting and my pitching," said McMahon.

James is State's second commitment for the class of 2010. The other one is Garrett Pitts, a middle infielder who plays for Fairhope High School in Alabama.

Look for future updates on James McMahon until he arrives on the MSU campus in the fall of 2010.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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