Buchanan happy with UM decision

For many high school first-semester juniors, there may be some question as to their future destination for college. Not so for Hawtin Buchanan.

The 16-year-old from Biloxi has had Ole Miss on his mind for a long time, and that's where he will take his baseball talents in the fall of 2011.

Buchanan, a right-handed pitcher, has committed to the Rebel baseball program and will sign next November.

"I'm glad the opportunity presented itself," said Buchanan, who it's safe to say comes from an Ole Miss family. "Ole Miss is where I've always wanted to go."

His mother, Allison, is a graduate of Ole Miss. His father, Patrick, is a graduate of the Ole Miss Law School.

Buchanan's grandfather, Raymond Brown, played football at Ole Miss from 1955-57.

"I've been to Ole Miss for games," said Buchanan. "I was up there last season for the (NCAA) Regional. Ole Miss is what I've always known. I like the atmosphere and the people, and I'm looking forward to it."

Buchanan won't turn 17 until April 29, 2010, but he's already got plenty of size on him. At 6-foot-8, 240 pounds and still growing, Buchanan is an imposing figure on the pitcher's mound.

A left-handed hitter as well, Buchanan batted .321 for Biloxi High School last spring as a sophomore. When he wasn't pitching, Buchanan was playing first base.

He throws his fast ball 90-92 miles per hour. He has a curve he throws in the high 70s, and his changeup is high 70s-low 80s.

Buchanan was a part of 2009 USA Baseball 16U. He played on the Most Valuable Player team out of Maryland in the 2009 USA Baseball 16U Championships East, in Palm Beach County, Fla., in June. A field of 2,800 players was narrowed to 36, and Buchanan was one of those 36.

He was a part of the 2008 state champion American Legion team from Biloxi. Buchanan has been a part of the Legion team for four summers.

Buchanan is a three-sport star at Biloxi High, playing center on the basketball team and quarterback on the football team in addition to participating in baseball. The BHS boys basketball team won the Class 5A state championship last season.

Buchanan was named the Rookie of the Year for Biloxi High baseball after his freshman season.

Several colleges had already begun to show major interest in Buchanan, including LSU, Alabama, and Mississippi State, among others. But Buchanan knew what he wanted to do.

"I thought about it a little bit," he said of perhaps looking around at other schools than Ole Miss. "But Ole Miss was always at the top of my list."

Given his size, his talent level, and his accomplishments already, Buchanan's upside appears to be huge. With the ability and strength that he possesses, by the time he arrives in Oxford at age 18 he should already be quite a towering figure on the mound. And that's before he gets into a strength and conditioning program at Ole Miss.

Buchanan said his commitment to the Rebels is firm, and he's happy to have already made known his choice for the future. All things considered, there was never really that much doubt as to where he would wind up after high school.

"I'm really glad," he said of already making his decision. "It's nice to know where I'm going to go so I won't have to worry about it for a year."

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