Ocean Springs senior baseball star Drew Windham picked up a scholarship offer from Southern Miss on Thursday during a visit to the Hattiesburg campus.
It's the first Division I offer for Windham after holding five junior college scholarship offers - Hinds, East Mississippi, LSU-Eunice, Mississippi Gulf Coast and Meridian.
"It feels incredible," Windham said of the USM offer. "It feels like all the hard work I've put in has paid off. It feels great and rewarding."
USM pitching coach Michael Federico traveled to watch Windham pitch in person late last month and left impressed after seeing his fastball top out at 91-92 miles per hour.
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Windham spent a good deal of time in the weight room and working on his mechanics with the Ocean Springs staff to help push his fastball into the 90's.
"That's one thing I've been working on in the offseason," Windham said. "I usually throw strikes. That's been one thing I've always done well. I just tried to increase my velocity."
Windham plans to discuss the USM offer with his family before making a decision.
"I'm going to go home, pray about it and talk about it with family," Windham said in a phone interview while on his way back from Hattiesburg. "It's a major decision because that's where I'd be spending the next four years of my life. I'll go home and really think about it and decide if that's what I want to do for the next four years."
Windham was impressed by the way USM head coach Scott Berry and Federico approached his recruitment.
"They were phenomenal, so nice and kind," Windham said. "Every single one of them know what they are doing."
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Windham is 1-5 with a 1.29 ERA in seven starts this season for the Greyhounds, playing the victim in some tough luck losses. He has 45 strikeouts and eight walks in 38 innings.