Logan Tanner woke up Tuesday morning to news that shocked the college baseball world and hit close to home for the George County star athlete.
Andy Cannizaro was on his way out as the Mississippi State head coach.
“My mom came in and told me. I didn’t think much of it, but then it kind of hit me, ‘Wow,’ ” Tanner said Tuesday night.
Tanner verbally committed to Cannizaro in November of last year, fulfilling a lifelong dream of getting a chance to play for the Bulldogs.
“Me and Coach Cannizaro were really tight,” he said. “I really liked him a lot. I just thought he was a really good guy.
“I’m still a little shocked that it happened.”
Mississippi State announced Cannizaro’s resignation Tuesday morning. The reason for his departure is unclear, but the second-year head coach asked for forgiveness from the MSU community.
“I had a wonderful opportunity at Mississippi State, but unfortunately I made some poor decisions,” Cannizaro said. “I hope Mississippi State University and all of the fans and people affected will one day forgive me.”
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Tanner is a junior who pitches, catches and plays third base at George County High School in Lucedale. He is confident that he can play any of those positions on the collegiate level.
As a sophomore last year, Tanner hit .305 with three homers and 21 RBIs. On the mound, he was 4-3 with a 1.22 ERA in eight appearances.
Those numbers may take a significant jump in his junior campaign.
“I feel like I’ve become a better hitter and my velocity has made a big jump on the mound,” Tanner said.
What makes Tanner such a well-regarded prospect is his arm strength. His fastball has topped out at around 93-94 miles per hour entering his junior campaign.
“I went on a diet and lost a lot of unwanted pounds I didn’t need,” he said. “I got my core a lot stronger. I’ve hit the weight room really hard the past couple of months.”
Pitching coach Gary Henderson has taken over as MSU’s interim coach, but it’s a fair assumption that other colleges will try to move in on Bulldog commits, thanks to the uncertainty in Starkville.
It doesn’t appear that it will be easy to change Tanner’s mind about Mississippi State.
“I’m 100 percent committed at the moment,” he said. “I feel like (Athletic Director John Cohen) will make a great hire and get a great guy in there.
“Mississippi State has been my favorite school since I was 4 years old. I couldn’t pass up on that.”
MSU recruiting coordinator Jake Gautreau has been in contact with Tanner since Cannizaro announced his resignation.
“He just told me that everything is OK, giving me updates,” Tanner said. “He told me not to worry, just to keep on keeping on.”