Sunday felt like the perfect day to make it official.
After months of being courted by some of the top baseball programs in the country, and one day after pitching a scoreless first inning for the American squad in the Under Armor All-America Baseball Game at Wrigley field, elite pitching recruit Ty Hensley tweeted “It’s official… I’m an Ole Miss Rebel!!! #hottytoddy” prior to flying home from Chicago to Edmond, Okla.
Hensley said during a brief interview Sunday evening that it’s a decision he had made three weeks prior.
“All my events were over for the summer and I had a couple of hours,” Hensley said. “I was like, this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while so might as well go ahead and get it done.
“Today I just couldn’t wait anymore and I was so ready to make the call and commit.”
Hensley said the news of his verbal commitment was a welcomed call to Ole Miss recruiting coordinator Carl Lafferty.
“He was really happy. He was screaming and I think he did a few back flips, too,” Hensley said, laughing. “It sounded like it at least. I think he was pretty happy. I know I was extremely happy, too.”
Reflecting on his finalists— the 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander chose Ole Miss over Arizona State and Texas — Hensley said the combination of Oxford and the Rebel coaching staff was tough to top.
“One, the coaches stayed in touch with me the best. As soon as July 1 rolled around I’ve talked to every single one of them, Coach (Mike) Bianco, Coach Lafferty, Coach (Cliff) Godwin,” he said. “They have all been great guys and are really sincere and mean what they say.
I just really felt like they cared about me. I love the town of Oxford. The people there are great.
“I just love the atmosphere there and I feel like it’s a home away from home and a place that I belong.”
The Rebels didn’t waste any time letting Hensley know they were interested once Lafferty saw him pitch for the first time.
“They came and watched me one game in the spring, liked what they saw, had me down for a visit and they offered me right then and there,” Hensley said. “I felt like they made it clear they wanted me and that was really important, too.”
Hensley has spent virtually the entire summer playing with the likes of Cameron Dishon, Gavin Cecchini and Stryker Trahan who are verbally committed to sign as part of Ole Miss’ 2012 signing class.
While Cecchini and Trahan are also considered elite baseball prospects and played in the U-A All-American game, Hensley said they didn’t influence his decision.
“They talked about Ole Miss a lot but they didn’t influence me too much because there’s no telling which one of them is going to go to school or not, so you can’t really count on that,” Hensley said. “You just have to count on the place that feels like home, comfortable and the place that you can develop the most.”
What if the talented class all shows up at Oxford? How good can they be?
“I hope we make a couple of trips to Omaha at least,” Hensley said. “I think we gel together really well as a unit and we could give anybody a good run. There’s no telling. They’re just a good group of guys that like to work hard and love playing baseball.
“Very talented and I think the sky is the limit.”
No time off
Hensley may finally be home from his whirlwind baseball tour of a summer, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be taking it easy.
“I’m not really going to take any time off,” he said. “I’m going to stick to my bullpen schedule, get with my trainer and just work out a lot.”
Hensley is the ninth player to verbally commit to Ole Miss as part of its 2012 signing class, joining Brady Bramlett, Zach Irwin, Jacob Waguespack, Chase Nyman, Christian Helsel, Cecchini, Dishon and Trahan. (August 15, 2011, Page 1B)