Rebels snag top Miss. '08 pitching prospect

T.J. House (LHP, Picayune, MS) - The Rebels rise to elite status in the baseball world can be traced back to two factors.

The first was the hiring of Mike Bianco , and the second was his ability to attract top notch talent.

That is evident by Ole Miss' Top 10 recruiting classes the last five out of seven years, according to Baseball America.

Recently Ole Miss picked up another piece of the puzzle for their future when Mississippi's top pitching '08 prospect, T.J. House, committed to the Rebels.

"The main reason I committed to Ole Miss was the situation where it was close to home and it felt like home," added the 6' 1", 205 left handed pitcher. "I am from a small community, and Oxford is a lot like Picayune. Plus, I liked their coaching staff. I liked how they kept in contact and made sure everything was good. They recruited me harder than anybody else. They were always at my games. That made me feel wanted. I just like how things are going up there. Things are going good, and I think they are going to continue to have success."

House had plenty of other options besides Ole Miss.

"LSU, Alabama, Vandy, Auburn, and MSU were my five finalist. I would say Vandy probably came in second because I liked their situation the best outside of Ole Miss. They are in a nice community in Tennessee, and I think they are on the rise. I just liked how they keep things in order."

There were several more schools who wanted T.J.'s services.

"In addition to the schools I had narrowed it down to, Florida, Tulane, Louisville, Kentucky, South Carolina, Baylor, Arizona State, and Harvard were all recruiting me."

It is rare for pitchers to be in the starting rotation at a 4A/5A program as a freshman and even more rare to be their "man".

"I actually started pitching varsity ball for us in 8th grade. I was the number 2 man my freshman year, and I have been our ace ever since."

T.J. had a 2.50 ERA with 42 strikeouts as a freshman and had a 2.56 ERA with 91 K's and 31 walks as a sophomore. But this season, House has taken it to another level.

"I pitched a one hitter against Pass Christian and had 12 K's. I pitched a 2 hitter against Bay High with 16 K's, and I pitched a 3 hitter against East Central with 16 K's. Overall, I have 86 k's and 20 walks in 40 innings of work. We are like 5-16 this year. We are not doing that good, but I am having a pretty good season."

What has made House a more effective pitcher?

"My mental ability to keep calm in certain situations. I do not let things snowball."

What are T.J.'s overall strengths?

"I can throw it hard (tops out at 93 MPH and averages 88-90), and I know what to do in certain situations. I have a lot of experience in pitching in varsity ball."

What is House's best pitch?

"My fastball."

What pitches are in his arsenal?

"I throw a slider, change up, curveball, and a fastball."

The biggest award T.J. has ever received?

"I was named to the Mississippi All-Star Classic as a sophomore, and in the Perfect Games, I was selected to the Tournament of All-Stars in North Carolina."

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