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Friday, August 29, 2014

Denny following family tradition, commits to play baseball at Ole Miss

Last Saturday Ole Miss baseball coach Mike Bianco made prep pitcher Matt Denny an offer he couldn’t refuse.

At the conclusion of Denny’s visit to Oxford, Bianco presented the 6-foot-1 left-hander from Jackson Academy with a scholarship offer.

By the end of the day Denny had verbally committed to the Rebels.

“I was trying to hold off my grin,” Denny said. “It was definitely something I have wanted. It’s always been my dream to play there growing up. I grew up around Ole Miss and it’s like a second home to me. My dad played there, my brother plays there and that’s something that a lot of families don’t get to do, have three family members go to the same school — especially in the SEC.”

Denny said he picked the Rebels over scholarship offers from Mississippi State and Austin Peay, and interest from LSU, Clemson, UAB and Samford.

While Denny is confident in his ability, he said he listened to the other programs that were courting him just in case his dream offer didn’t come.

“I have seen how successful (Ole Miss) have been in the years and just in case that didn’t happen I wanted to show interest in other schools, but really for me, if they were going to offer I was going to take it,” Denny said. “I love their program. I love their school. I just love everything about Ole Miss. And then when they offered I jumped on it.

“When it came down to it, there were just too many family ties there to overcome. I just couldn’t turn that down.”

On the mound, Denny said he relies on a fastball-curveball combination and also has a changeup.

“For me, it’s pitching to contact and what can I do best to get people out,” he said. “It’s not going to be blowin’ it by them because I obviously don’t pitch hard enough for that. I’m an 84-88 kind of guy with the fastball and I like my curveball.

“It’s trying to stay in the zone, keeping hitters off balance and really just pitching to contact and getting hitters out.”

Denny added that while he was able to get away with relying on two pitches in high school, he realized this summer while pitching with the Texas Sun Devils travel team that he needs to incorporate his changeup into his repertoire more.

Doing yoga
Denny recently began taking yoga classes in an effort to help on the baseball diamond and football field.

“I just try to go three times a week if I can because it’s only going to benefit me in the end,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d like it at all but it’s really not that bad. It’s pretty useful.”

On the football field, Denny starts at linebacker and also plays tight end.

Denny added that he gave up long snapping a while ago, unlike his brother, Will, who is on the Ole Miss football team.

“I retired that job after my ninth grade year when I figured out it wasn’t for me. That was Will’s thing,” he said. “I was better at catching the long snaps than I was doing it.”

Denny is Ole Miss’ 10th verbal commitment for its 2012 signing class. (August 23, 2011, Page 9)

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