March 19, 2012

Cohen fulfills recruiting promise to Jones

It's not very often that the top high school player in the state walks on as a freshman.

But that is exactly what happened last season with Brayden Jones.

The Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year from Madison Central walked on his rookie season at Mississippi State and after a redshirt year earned a scholarship with the Diamond Dogs.

MSU was the first school to contact the third baseman during the recruiting process but Southern Miss quickly entered the picture soon after and in a big way.

"I actually went on my first trip to Southern (Miss) and they offered me while I was there," Jones said. "I came to State the next weekend and they wanted to offer me but told me they didn't have enough scholarships so they offered me a scholarship for my second year. I had to decide whether I wanted to be a walk-on for a year and earn it or go play at Southern Miss. But I love it up here and have grown up a State fan and this is where I wanted to be."

As a senior for the Jaguars, Jones hit .376 with 10 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 29 RBIs and was also named All-State and Dandy Dozen by the Clarion Ledger. He also was a standout on the mound where he was 10-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 83 strikeouts over 57.1 innings.

Having dominated the prep ranks in the Jackson area for years, Jones admitted that sitting out last season was a tough pill to swallow. However he was able to be tutored by a pair of seniors that are both making a living in professional baseball now.

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