Norris Commits to MSU

Fairhope (AL) High School right-handed pitcher/infielder Daryl Norris, a senior-to-be, has verbally committed to play baseball at Mississippi State.

"I called (MSU head baseball) Coach (John) Cohen (Friday) afternoon about 12 (o'clock) and I told him I wanted to be a Bulldog," said Daryl, who also had a long-standing scholarship offer from the University of Alabama. "They were all eating lunch at some chinese restaurant so I got to talk to all of them at once, which was pretty cool. They were really excited. They said it made their lunch."

Daryl explained why he chose Mississippi State over Alabama.

"I just really liked all the coaches at Mississippi State from Coach Cohen, (assistant) Coach (Lane) Burroughs, (assistant) Coach (Butch) Thompson to (assistant) Coach (Nick) Mingione. That was just some place I felt comfortable going."

Academics also played a part in his decision.

"What I also like about it is it's not a real, real big SEC school," said Daryl. "I've heard the classes are not so big where the teacher doesn't know who you are. You can still get one-on-one time with the teachers. I really like that about Mississippi State."

But ultimately it came down to the baseball program at Mississippi State.

"Anybody I talked to about Mississippi State either had heard about it or had experienced it, and I haven't heard anything negative about Mississippi State baseball," said Daryl.

While it may appear that the decision was a fairly easy one for Daryl to make, it actually wasn't because he grew up going to University of Alabama football games and cheering for the Crimson Tide his entire life.

"This was really hard, just growing up in Alabama and all my friends telling me to go to Alabama because they really want me there," said Daryl. "That was pretty much the hardest part about it. But I was just trying to make sure I did what was best for me and not going by what my friends wanted me to do."

He actually felt he knew what was best for him a few weeks back but his dad wanted him to think about it a few more weeks just to make sure he was 100% sure with his decision.

"I have known where I wanted to go for a few weeks now," said the 6-1, 210-pounder. "I was wanting to commit a couple of weeks ago but my dad told me to wait until after the East Coast Showcase (which was last weekend) and if I still felt that way when I got back I could call Coach Cohen and tell him I want to be a Bulldog."

His performance at the showcase wound up making the decision slightly more difficult.

"I threw four innings and gave up one hit, and I got a few (recruiting) calls (from college coaches), probably about six or seven due to the showcase," said Daryl, who consistently threw 88 to 91 miles per hour during the four innings. "I heard from Clemson, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Tulane, Louisville and one or two others I can't think of right now."

When he refers to heard, it was more than just hearing.

"Georgia Tech offered a good scholarship; they said it was about 85%," said Daryl. "North Carolina said they wanted me to come up and visit and they would offer when I came up there. Tennessee wanted to offer me whenever I came up there. Clemson and all the other schools left messages but I haven't gotten in touch with them."

Ultimately, the calls and offers made no difference when he took the time to sit down and think the process through.

"I was pretty sure because I had been to Alabama and Mississippi State and I knew a lot about them because I had time to research their programs," said Daryl, who in addition to offers from the schools mentioned above had scholarship offers from South Alabama and Troy as well as a offer from Arkansas if he told them he would be interested in signing with them.

While he told the MSU coaches and coaches from the other schools recruiting him that he had committed to Mississippi State, he had one other group of people to tell - teammate Garrett Pitts, also a Mississippi state commitment, and his family. He told them Friday night while at dinner. But he made it a little interesting for the Pitts.

"We took all of my family and all of (Garrett's) family out to eat and told them the news," said Daryl. "But we tried to trick them. I told them, 'well, Garrett, I called Coach Gaspard at Alabama today and I committed today,' Garrett's dad asked, 'did you commit to Alabama or did you call them?' That's when I told them that I was going to Mississippi State. They were really excited. "

Daryl Norris is Mississippi State's 16th commitment in the 2010 recruiting class.

Click here to see the names of all 16 commitments.

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

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