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December 4, 2012

Coveted LHP commits to Ole Miss

Mike Bianco took time away from a family dental issue to take Foster Griffin's phone call on Monday.

Griffin was the bright spot of the Ole Miss head coach's afternoon.

The Orlando, Fla., left-handed pitcher told Bianco he wanted Ole Miss to be his college home. Griffin hung up with Bianco and called recruiting coordinator Carl Lafferty to deliver the same news.

Griffin, a 6-foot-5 2014 prospect, also had offers from Virginia, Georgia, Miami, Central Florida and Clemson.

"Coach Bianco was at the dentist with one of his sons, and he said my call made his night," Griffin said. "Coach Lafferty was at home and said he wasn't expecting it but was sure glad I called. They both said they were looking forward to me being in Oxford."

The First Academy standout is rated No. 309 nationally by Perfect Game and is the No. 23 left-handed pitcher, according to the scouting service. He works in the high 80s with a plus curve ball that has swing-and-miss capability and solid depth.

Griffin's curve and his delivery are very similar to a former Rebel, current Colorado Rockies pitcher Drew Pomeranz. Former Ole Miss players were a key factor in Ole Miss' sales pitch.

"Me and my dad definitely looked at the past records of left-handed pitchers and pitchers in general at Ole Miss," Griffin said. "We saw how they developed and how they were higher picks out of college than high school."

Griffin was lightly recruited until this past summer, when he starred with the Orlando Scorpions - an elite travel organization that has been a pipeline for Ole Miss.

"I wouldn't be where I am without the Scorpions," Griffin said. "They developed me and got my name out there."

"He's a fierce competitor," said Matt Gerber, head of the Scorpions. "He's a projectable left-hander that profiles as a starter at the SEC level.

The interest and offers began to pile up during his time with the Scorpions, joining hometown Central Florida, which was the first school to identify him. Griffin visited all the favorites, including Ole Miss during the weekend of its football game against Vanderbilt. After checking out Georgia for the Bulldogs' football win over Georgia Tech, Griffin and his parents talked on the way back to Orlando and knew the decision was made.

"It came down to Ole Miss, Virginia and Clemson," Griffin said. "It was really the coaches that made the difference, Bianco and Lafferty and (Cliff) Godwin. The baseball program is on the rise, and I know they have a good shot at Omaha. The fan base is incredible, and I can't wait to play in front of that many people."

With his frame and ability, pro franchises will likely come calling in about 18 months, but that's not on Griffin's mind at this point.

"My eyes are on college," he said. "That's all, that's what I'm thinking about."

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