STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State has bolstered its 2008-09 baseball recruiting class with the signing of two prep pitchers from Alabama and a catcher from the Mississippi community college ranks.
First-year MSU baseball coach John Cohen announced Friday the signing of right-handed pitcher Ben Bracewell of Chelsea, Ala. (Briarwood Christian School), lefty C.C. Watson of Heflin, Ala. (Cleburne County High School) and Meridian Community College catcher Wesley Thigpen of Luling, La.
"Both Ben and C.C. have a chance to be dual-position players at Mississippi State," said first-year MSU head coach John Cohen. "They are part of a talented class of pitchers coming out of the Alabama high school ranks this year. And the addition of Wesley Thigpen, a highly-skilled catcher from MCC, strengthens us behind the plate."
MSU has now announced nine baseball signees in the first three days of the week-long November signing period for baseball, which runs through Nov. 19.
BEN BRACEWELL, RHP, 6-0, 180, R-R, Chelsea, Ala. (Briarwood Christian School)
HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year starting pitcher and middle infielder at Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham ... Coached by Lee Hall ... Also a three-year letterman for the BCS Lions football team ... named to Briarwood Christian’s A-B Honor Roll ... Notched a 5-3 record with two saves and an 0.86 earned run average en route to honorable mention Alabama Sportswriters Association All-State honors as a junior ... Struck out 96 in 65-1/3 innings ... At the plate registered a .421 batting average with a team-best 48 hits and 21 stolen bases ... Honorable mention Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger High School All-American ... Birmingham-News All-Metro team selection ... Also tabbed 2008 Shelby County Reporter Player of the Year and Birmingham-News Pitcher of the Year for Shelby County ... Named to the AHSAA North/South All-Star and the Alabama East/West All-Star teams ... As a sophomore in 2007 hit .370 with 29 stolen bases and a 6-3 pitching mark with a staff-leading 1.61 ERA ... Will enter his senior campaign in 2009 with a school-record 1.56 career earned run average and 180 strikeouts.
PERSONAL: Born Benjamin Albert Bracewell on September 19, 1990 in Birmingham, Ala. ... Son of Christine and Al Bracewell of Chelsea, Ala.
COHEN ON BRACEWELL: "Ben is another dual-position guy as a shortstop and a right-handed pitcher. He’s an athletic pitcher with a very good arm and a feel for a very good curve ball."
WESLEY THIGPEN, C, 6-0, 195, R-R, Luling, La. (Hahnville High School/Meridian CC)
JUNIOR COLLEGE: An All-MACJC selection as a freshman catcher and corner infielder at Meridian (Miss.) Community College in 2008 ... Coached by Chris Rose ... Hit .370 with 17 extra-base hits, including six home runs ... Serves as team captain for 2008-09 ... Caught all 55 games and threw out 85 percent of the opponents attempting stolen bases ... Among six MCC players to six with NCAA Division I programs ... Phi Theta Kappa honor society member at MCC.
HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year starter as a catcher and first baseman at Hahnville HS in Boutte, La. ... Hit .417 and drove in 47 runs with 23 extra-base hits and eight stolen bases in nine attempts as a senior ... An honorable mention Class 5A all-state selection by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association ... Also earned all-district, all-parish and coaches all-state honors ... Hit .380 with 38 RBI as a junior in 2006, earning all-state, all-district and all-parish accolades ... Member of the Beta Club and the National Honor Society ... Played summer league baseball for coach Chris Wescott with Bill Hood Baseball in 2007 and 2008.
PERSONAL: Born Wesley Joseph. Thigpen on June 20, 1989 in Kenner, La. ... Son of Sarah and Billy Thigpen of Luling, La.
COHEN ON THIGPEN: "Wesley has a chance to be a dominant defensive catcher. His ability to receive and throw the baseball and his leadership skills make him a very important part of this recruiting class."
C.C. WATSON, LHP, 6-0, 190, L-L, Heflin, Ala. (Cleburne County High School)
HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year starter as a pitcher and outfielder at Cleburne (Ala.) County HS ... Coached by Vaughn Lee ... Accorded first-team Alabama Sportswriters Association All-State honors as a junior ... Southpaw who compiled a 7-1 record with a 1.98 earned run average in 2008 ... Registered 97 strikeouts and walked 16 in 43 innings ... Also hit .365 with 24 RBI, 19 extra-base hits and 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts ... All-conference selection, team MVP and Anniston Star’s Area Player of the Year ... Earned North squad MVP honors at the 2008 North/South All-Star Game played in Huntsville, Ala. ... Also earned all-conference, all-state and team MVP honors as a sophomore... Hit .419 with 13 stolen bases and compiled an 8-3 pitching mark with three saves, 108 strikeouts and a 2.20 ERA in 2007 ... During his four-year prep career at has compiled a 21-5 record with seven saves and 306 strikeouts ... Four-year member and past team captain of the Tigers’ football team ... Honor student at Cleburne County HS ... Played summer league baseball in 2008 for the Excel Blue Wave, where he was coached by Josh Beshears and former MSU infielder Steve Gendron.
PERSONAL: Born Charles Clellon Watson on September 18, 1990 in Anniston, Ala.. ... Son of Lisa and Robert Watson of Heflin, Ala.
COHEN ON WATSON: "C.C. has got a chance to be a two-way guy for us. He’s got an explosive type of arm and a second pitch that will enable him to compete on the mound at a high level in our league."