Landon Jordan has known since the summer of 2016 where he would be playing collegiately. Still, the anticipation associated with Wednesday’s early signing period was virtually overwhelming for the Hancock High baseball star.
“I tossed and turned all night. I couldn’t sleep,” Jordan said. “It’s a dream come true.”
Jordan made his pledge to Mississippi State official Wednesday, signing with the Bulldogs during a ceremony in the HHS library. He was joined by six other Hancock Hawks who are headed to various other colleges.
Kaylan Ladner signed a softball scholarship with Southern Miss, while teammate Brooke Fagan is headed to Pearl River Community College. Volleyball teammates Madison Ladner, Karringten Perkins, Destiny Hariel and Amanda Kay Shubert all signed with Coastal Alabama Community College.
Jordan originally pledged to MSU coach John Cohen, but when Andy Cannizaro took over the program, the Hawk’s pledge never wavered.
“Who can pass up that program? I went on the visit and saw the facilities,” said Jordan, who donned a special maroon velvet coat for Wednesday’s ceremony. “My mom went there, too, so I couldn’t pass it up.”
In three seasons, Jordan has hit .424 with 42 RBIs, 11 doubles, three triples, four homers and a .538 on-base percentage along with a 1.150 OPS.
He said he hopes to contend for early playing time once he arrives in Starkville.
“They said they do start freshmen. That’s the plan, to go in and start,” he said. “They said if you can hit you won’t sit, so I plan to swing it.”
Kaylan Ladner has been one of the more dominant pitchers in the region during her prep career. Although she didn’t play for HHS as a junior last year, she recorded 116 strikeouts against 11 walks in 69 innings as a sophomore. She also boasted a 1.31 ERA that season.
She said her connection to USM and coach Wendy Hogue goes way back.
“Whenever I was 9 I actually used to go to her camps at William Carey, so whenever she became the coach at Southern, it was like, man, that’s a Division 1 opportunity,” Ladner said. “I guess she followed along with me and remained interested. I was surly interested, too.”
PRCC is getting a versatile athlete in its HHS signee.
As a junior, Fagan hit .338 with a .442 OBP and .450 slugging percentage.
“Brooke is a very aggressive softball player,” HHS softball coach Bo Breland said. “She swings a hot bat and is going to hit. She’s that kid where we know when she gets on base she’s going to make things happen for us.”
HHS volleyball coach Rick Reichtien beamed at the thought of having four players who are sticking together at the next level.
“When I first came to Hancock they were in my sixth grade class. They’ve been driving me crazy ever since,” he said with a laugh. “They’re good athletes and picked up the sport really well. It became important to them and I’m just proud of their accomplishments.”
Madison Ladner led HHS with 381 kills, 121 aces and 93 this season, while Perkins was second on the team with 217 kills. Hariel had a team-high 286 digs. Shubert was the quarterback of the attack with 560 assists.