Foriest picks Ole Miss

Nathan Foriest kept narrowing his college choices down. But after a recent visit to Ole Miss, the talented left-handed pitcher had basically made up his mind.

Foriest, a highly-recruited player from Harpeth High School in Kingston Springs, Tenn., just west of Nashville, officially committed to the Rebels last weekend. His lengthy list was down to three at that point - Ole Miss, LSU, and Louisiana-Monroe. He also considered Vanderbilt, Clemson, Tennessee, and Lipscomb University (Coaches Jeff Forehand and Brian Ryman).

He'd visited Ole Miss, LSU, and Louisiana-Monroe in three days recently. It was a significant trip, according to Foriest.

"Ever since I made the visit to Oxford, I knew that's where I wanted to go," he said. "It's closer to home and my parents can watch me play. I like the coaches. I like the fact that a lot of players improve their draft status during their time playing at Ole Miss."

Foriest said he is not concerned with the draft at this point and may not be even next June.

"I feel strongly that I want to go to college first," before he plays pro baseball, he said.

The rising senior said while his decision was easier after his visit here, there were plusses at the other schools. Louisiana-Monroe was on the list mainly because of a connection.

"Lance Wheeler, their pitching coach, is a longtime family friend," Foriest said.

LSU had some obvious positives to offer.

"They are the national champions, and their facilities are really nice," he said. "Their head coach seemed down to earth and sincere."

But Ole Miss won out, and Foriest is happy with his choice.

"I liked everything there," he said. "The facilities are really good, and I really like the campus."

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, who is a middle linebacker and wide receiver on the Harpeth High football team, throws a two-seam fast ball 88 mph, a four-seam fast ball 89-92, a curve 82 and a changeup.

As a junior in high school last spring, his ERA was 2.00. He had several superlative games.

He threw two no-hitters last season, one with 16 strikeouts and another with 14. He also had another 10 strikeout contest.

As for the summer, Foriest experienced some shoulder soreness early and didn't pitch until later. But when he did, he excelled.

He threw a one-hitter in a showcase tournament at East Cobb in suburban Atlanta. A week later he threw another one-hitter in a showcase tourney in Ft. Myers, Fla. He pitched well in the Area Code Showcase Tournament in California. For most of the summer he pitched for the Franklin Outlaws, a team in his home area.

Foriest, who will sign in November, said he wants to continue to improve before arriving on the Ole Miss campus a year from now.

"You always want to work on your strength," he said. "I want to work to get my velocity up as well. I'd like to work on better accuracy with my breaking ball and changeup."

Now that he's gotten his choice for college out of the way, Foriest can focus on his senior year and enjoy everything that comes along with it.

"I'm definitely glad I got it out of the way, and that I don't have to worry about it any more," Foriest said. "I'm happy to tell people that I'm going to Ole Miss."

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