A year ago Gavin Cecchini seemed like he was all set to remain in-state and head to LSU.
The standout shortstop from Barbe High School in Lake Charles, La., had verbally committed to the Tigers as a sophomore and was going to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Garin.
The problem, however, was that when the Boston Red Sox drafted Garin in the fourth round — and eventually signed him above slot for $1.31 million, $440,000 less than his reported asking price — Gavin’s relationship with LSU turned sour.
“The reason he came that far down off of his number is because LSU didn’t treat him right,” Gavin said. “They bashed my family, they didn’t treat him right, they did really crazy stuff and unprofessional stuff to our family and so they told my brother if you sign with the Red Sox we’re going to take your brother’s scholarship away.”
From there, according to Gavin, he began hearing less and less from LSU and four weeks ago he opted to re-open his recruitment — much to the delight of the Ole Miss Rebels, who received a verbal commitment from the youngest Cecchini on Sunday after he had visited Oxford for the Georgia series.
“Well, (Garin) signed with the Red Sox and while LSU didn’t take (the scholarship offer) away, they lost all contact with me,” Cecchini said. “They stopped sending me emails and inviting me to games and I said, ‘you know what, this is not the right place for me. If they don’t want me then I don’t want to be there. I’m going to go find a college that really wants me.’
“LSU just wasn’t the right fit for me, obviously, so I de-committed and went on my way to go look at other schools. Ole Miss is definitely the right fit for me, I know it is.”
Gavin had visited Ole Miss when his brother took his official visit in 2009, and had liked it enough to sort of take a flyer on the Rebels. When he de-committed and eventually visited Oxford last weekend, he traded in the flyer for a billboard.
“That place is unbelievable. The coaches are great; I love every single coach,” Cecchini said. “They treated me like I was second to none. It was fist class, everything they do. Their motto is everything counts and it counted, man. The school is nicely manicured, everything is so clean. The fans are unbelievable. The coaches are unbelievable. The stadium is unbelievable. The strength and conditioning coach is awesome. Everything about it I love.
“All around I friggin’ love that place.”
Gavin added that he learned from his brother’s recruiting experiences.
“He said if I had to do it all over again I would have gone to Ole Miss,” Cecchini said laughing. “It’s all about class and the coaches at Ole Miss are first class all around… He’s just that type of guy, where, I don’t want to bash LSU, but LSU is going nuts that Garin is going to go play for the Red Sox. They’re those type of guys, they’re first class over there.
Like his brother, Gavin is considered one of the top prospects in the 2012 signing class and is a potential draft risk.
As such, he expects to have a very busy summer.
On top of playing with fellow commit Stryker Trahan in the Under Armor All-American game at Wrigley Field, both Louisiana standouts are also planning to try out for Team USA’s Under-18 squad in Cary, N.C. and play in the Area Code Games.
Perfect Game rates Cecchini as a 10.0 prospect: “Cecchini has an athletic build, good athlete, good actions in the infield, has arm strength, good swing at the plate, ball comes off well, has bat speed. Very good all around the player. Highest level follow.”
According to Cecchini, he’s a five-tool player that projects as a middle-of-the-order bat in college. He also reports a 6.48-second 60-yard dash time and has good range and arm at the shortstop position.
Amongst a slew of interested schools, Cecchini selected the Rebels over Arkansas, Texas A&M, Arizona State and Rice. (April 13, 2011, Page 9)