Inside the Recruitment: 2018 C Hayden Jones Picks Mississippi State

By Phil Wade

Indiana Executive Director

The No. 1 ranked catcher in Indiana's class of 2018, Hayden Jones, recently committed to Mississippi State. 

PBR: Why did you choose Mississippi State? What were some key factors in making your decision?

Jones: I chose Mississippi State because of my relationship with the coaching staff, the academic support they have in place, and the environment that they play in.  It is a true college baseball town. 

PBR: Where did they first see you compete?  

Jones: Coach Henderson first saw me at a camp while he was the head coach at Kentucky.  Coach Henderson moved to MSU and saw me play this summer in Ft. Wayne and Coach Coggin saw me at the Futures Games in August. 

PBR: What other schools were you considering?

Jones:  I had offers from several great programs.  Purdue, Kentucky, Xavier, Michigan St. Miami of OH, Louisville, Liberty, and Cincinnati.  After the Futures Games I received interest from Alabama, Virginia, Arizona St., Virginia Tech, Missouri, North Carolina, and Arizona.  I had also visited Auburn, Indiana, and Michigan. 

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?  

Jones: Things happened quicker than I expected at the beginning.  For the most part, the process was enjoyable.  The most difficult thing was getting to know many great coaches and having to pick just one. 

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue you baseball career?  

Jones: Coaches that can develop my skills so I can play professional baseball, a program that has a strong baseball tradition, and a coaching staff and players who create a family atmosphere.   

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you?  Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Jones: It started to move quickly the summer and fall between my Freshman and Sophomore year.  I attended several college prospect camps and a San Diego Padres tryout, that's when things really started rolling. 

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and become serious about taking your game to the next level?  

Jones: Coach Schreiber from Purdue came to see me play in a tournament in Ft. Wayne the summer going into my Freshman year.  Coach Dave Bishoff from New Haven HS called him and said you need to come see this kid play.  I had no idea he was doing that, so that was the first time someone outside my family made me think I had that kind of ability.   

PBR: Who is the best player you've faced in Indiana, and why?  

Jones: Skylar Szynski, he had a great fastball and competed very well. 

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?  

Jones: If you are good enough, coaches will find you. 

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Jones: Playing with the San Diego Padres 18u scout team last fall out in the Arizona Fall Classic.  We ran into the Padres Director of Player development who gave my family a tour of their spring training facility that was awesome.  Also, getting to know all of the great college coaches along the recruiting process. 

PBR: Preview your high school season for us.  How do you feel your team will be?  What are your expectations and goals?

Jones:  Should be a very strong team, we have many talented seniors and juniors who have been playing varsity for multiple years.  We will have as much depth as anyone, just have to play every game like it's our last. 

PBR: Where do you play in the summer?  What has been your most memorable experience with them?

Jones: Ft. Wayne Flippin Frogs 18u.  Getting to play with and against older kids.  Some of our players have been together for 8 summers, it's great to see those guys now going off to play in college.