"I think we have laid a really nice foundation for the future of this program," said Cohen. "But as I have said many times you don't want to get into the business of having everything depend on the success of freshmen. It doesn't work, for the most part, in basketball, football or baseball. You look at South Carolina's club (which won this year's college world series) and you see it was a veteran club."
And while this year's recruiting class includes thirteen freshmen, it also includes five junior college players. And, according to Cohen, those are the players who should pay immediate dividends this coming season.
"There are five junior college players in this class," he noted. "(LHP) Tim Statz is a guy who, if he comes back (from arm surgery) the way we hope he will, is a Bulldog. (LHP/OF) Luis Pollorena is another Bulldog who will compete really hard for us. We also got a left-handed bat in (C) Brent Bozeman who gives us depth at catcher and may be able to play first base. He is a very professional looking hitter. (RHP) Andrew Busby is a kid who has a power type arm who we feel can help our pitching staff. (OF) David Bishop is a guy who we believe is going to hit. We lost some punch in our lineup from last year so a guy like David Bishop is going to need to be ready to step in and help us immediately. He's also a solid defender in the outfield."
As for the freshmen members of the class, while the draftees are receiving a lot of attention, Cohen feels the other eight freshmen are also a very talented group.
"I think it is huge (to keep five drafted signees) but I don't want to under sell the fact that some of our freshmen who weren't drafted are good players and very good drafts down the road," said Cohen. "There is no doubt in my mind that someone like Wes Rea was going to be a draft pick but then had some arm issues that caused him to have arm surgery. He, along with a lot of our freshmen, fall into that category."
When asked where this year's class ranks among all the recruiting classes he has been around as a head coach and assistant coach, Cohen thinks very highly of it, but realizes it's nothing but potential at the moment.
"The draft report card doesn't come out for three years," said Cohen. "(But) at this point, I think it is one of the best classes that I have ever been around."
And he knows what can happen if a highly ranked recruiting class performs up to expectations given a little experience.
"When I was at Florida (as an assistant coach) my second year I think that class was ranked either second or third in the country and that group of kids played in the national championship game against Texas two years later," said Cohen, whose first recruiting class at MSU was ranked 8th and 15th by two national baseball publications, Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America. "That was a great group. That group included a lot of kids who were top-10 round type draft picks. But it's not just finding the players at Florida but getting them on campus. You really have to keep your nose to the ground and listen to the scouts. They'll help you figure out if you will be able to keep a kid."
And, based on quotes from each of the five draftees, the Mississippi State coaching staff did a great job of listening and keeping their nose to the ground.
OF/C/RHP Hunter Renfroe (Boston Red Sox, 31st Round) - "It is a great honor to have a professional team like the Boston Red Sox notice you and believe in you enough to draft you, but it has always been my dream to play in the maroon and white. And I just hope I do it justice and also help the team win a national championship."
MIF/RHP Taylor Stark (Washington Nationals, 42nd Round) - "Being drafted is one of the greatest feelings in the world but being a Bulldog is something that I couldn't refuse."
MIF/OF Demarcus Henderson (Houston Astros, 43rd Round) - "I felt like school was the right place for me because I wanted to get mentally and physically stronger before heading to the pros."
RHP/OF Daryl Norris (Texas Rangers, 46th Round) - "To pass up playing SEC baseball in front of the best fans in the nation would have been very hard for me to do. I am very excited about this season and I hope to have an impact as soon as possible."
OF/LHP C.T. Bradford (Cleveland Indians, 48th Round) - "It was an easy decision. With the great coaching staff that Mississippi State has to offer and playing in the Southeastern Conference I knew I couldn't go wrong."
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 emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.