The Meridian Star
West Lauderdale's standout pitcher Will Stokes can relax heading into his senior season after verbally committing to Ole Miss this week.
"It's a good feeling, because I was stressing out before," Stokes said. "Now I can enjoy [my senior season]."
Stokes finished the high school season at 10-0 with a 1.39 ERA. Last weekend, he helped lead the State Games of Mississippi District 5 team to a bronze medal.
He said Ole Miss was the perfect fit for him.
"They were the first people to offer me, I talked to [Mississippi State University] a little, but I decided to go to Ole Miss. I just thought it was the best place for me," Stokes siad.
Having already established himself on the mound, Stokes said the Rebels' pitching program was the most appealing.
"I just liked the way they handle their pitchers," he said.
West Lauderdale coach Jerry Boatner said the Ole Miss staff saw in Stokes what has made him a valuable asset to the Knights. Boatner said he was excited to have one season left with Stokes.
"He's a very athletic person," Boatner said. "He can hit, he can run, he can throw. He plays good defense and he can really pitch. They'll have a lot of options with him."
Growing up in a Mississippi State University house, committing – even just verbally – to Ole Miss would seem taboo. Stokes said his entire family is on board and happy with his decision. His older brother, Wes, is a pitcher for the Bulldogs.
"They're supportive," Stokes said.
Boatner said Stokes has a bright future, as he already is throwing in the low 90 miles-per-hours on the radar gun.
"He gets a little more strength and size to him, he'll really be able to throw the ball hard," Boatner said.
"He's going to be a success whatever he does ... he's got all kinds of potential."