Choosing the Rebels

For right-handed pitcher Will Stokes, it actually came down to a fairly easy decision.

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The West Lauderdale High rising senior said Ole Miss is where he needs to be for college and for his baseball future.

"I felt like I could play more there," said Stokes. "It was the team for me, so I just went ahead and committed."

West Lauderdale has historically had good baseball. There've been several Southeastern Conference players pass through that school, including former Rebel infielder Rob Boyd, now executive director of the Oxford Park Commission.

For Stokes, it mainly came down to Mississippi's two Southeastern Conference schools for his services.

"It was mainly Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and also some junior colleges," the 6-foot, 175-pound Stokes said. "Mississippi State said they were going to see me pitch one more time and then offer. But Ole Miss had already offered."

His brother, Wes, is currently a pitcher for the Bulldogs. Both his parents attended MSU.

But for Will, Ole Miss was his choice. He will bring an impressive resume' to Oxford. He was 10-0 this past season for WLHS. In one game, he struck out 16.

"I throw a fastball and slider and I need to work on a changeup," he said. "I'm usually around 88-94 (mph). I just try to throw it up there and hopefully get a ground ball. Definitely work on my changeup and get that down."

Stokes was named first-team All-State by the high school coaches. West Lauderdale made the playoffs but failed to win a Class 4A state championship. Stokes believes that can change this season.

Will Stokes
File Photo

"We should have won it last year," he said. "I'm pretty confident we'll win it this year."

He's played baseball this summer, and later this week he leaves for a week playing with the East Cobb Braves.

"The coach, Joe Caruso, called my dad and wanted me on the team," he said.

As for now, however, his college choice has been made. He'll have the pressure off as he enters his senior season. He knows after one final season at baseball tradition-rich West Lauderdale that he'll head to Ole Miss to play for the Rebels.

Stokes said his family is on board with his decision.

"Everybody is supportive," he said. "I was pretty stressed out. Now I get to enjoy it. I'm pretty pumped up about it."

Stokes makes it 11 commitments for the Class of 2014 for Ole Miss baseball. Here's the list:

Will Golsan, INF, New Hope (Miss.) High School

Ti'Quan Forbes, INF, Columbia (Miss.) High School

Tate Blackman, INF, Lake Brantley High School, Altamonte Springs, Fla.

John Wesley Ray, RHP, Christian Brothers High School, Memphis, Tenn.

Brady Feigl, RHP, Central High School, Chesterfield, Mo.

Foster Griffin, LHP, The First Academy, Orlando, Fla.

Michael Fitzsimmons, 1B/3B Memphis (Tenn.) University School

Kyle Watson, INF, Desoto Central (Miss.) High School

Grayson Moyes, OF, Collierville (Tenn.) High School

Joe Wainhouse, 1B, Kentridge (Wash.) High School

Will Stokes, RHP, West Lauderdale (Miss.) High School

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