Confidently ahead of the process—that’s how Landon Sims describes his growth as a baseball player. Considering just how much he’s accomplished before getting a driver’s license, you can’t argue with his approach.
Neither could his parents.
Sims’ elders wanted him to wait until the better half of his junior year to make a decision on where he’ll play baseball in college, but the former USA Baseball member and hard-throwing right hander vetoed their wishes—with mutual respect, he says—and committed to Mississippi State baseball on Thursday.
“Blessed and honored to say that I have committed to play baseball at Mississippi State University,” he announced Thursday via Twitter.
Sims, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound prospect just recently finished his first season of varsity football (he looked good there too, excelling as a newcomer in the defensive backfield). Baseball has become the focus once again, but he admits he had his mind made up about Mississippi State for a while.
“I’ve always had a feeling, since coming in contact with them. I made great relationships with the coaches pretty fast,” Sims said.
There was a bit of a curve thrown Sims’ way in the summer, however. Right before Sims’ visit, the program's head coach, John Cohen, —the coach who originally made contact with Sims — was named Mississippi State's new athletic director. At first Sims felt some uncertainty, but that quickly dissipated when he met the new coach — Andy Cannizaro, formerly of Louisiana State.
“He’s a really high-energy guy. I’m a high-energy guy. I’ve spent a lot of time talking with him recently and we’ve really clicked,” Sims said. “I think we’ll get along great together there.”
Mississippi State is a hard program to turn down these days. The Bulldogs went 44-18-1 last season, including a 21-9 mark in the Southeastern Conference, and swept 3-0 in the NCAA regional to advance to Super Regionals. As the school’s flagship athletic program, the baseball team has made nine appearances in the College World Series since 1971 (most recently finishing runner-up in 2013) and have 11 SEC titles, including 2016.
The Bulldogs are also working on a $55 million renovation to Dudy Noble Field which will make it unquestionably the premier on-campus baseball stadium in the NCAA.
Sims said the other program that was closest to receiving his commitment was Clemson, with Georgia and Auburn trailing behind.
The sophomore made the U15 USA Baseball roster in July, earning the right to pitch for the country in Japan at the WBSC World Cup. He was the only player from the state of Georgia on the team. As a freshman on the varsity team at South Forsyth he finished with a 5-3 record and a 4.96 ERA (numbers he is first to admit are “not very good”) and 39 strikeouts.
“I’m feeling good about this upcoming year,” Sims said.