Over the past month or so, Morgan City (La.) senior forward Shawn Long has experienced quite a whirlwind on the recruiting scene. But following his recent official visit to Mississippi State, Long made his college decision on Friday and then signed on Saturday with the Bulldogs.
In his first public comments since signing, Long said he just MSU provided the best fit for his college career.
"It is just a happy day today for me and my family to finally sign with Mississippi State," said Long. "On my visit, I just saw the type of players they have and I felt I could make an impact, too. Their coaches were down to earth and they seemed to care for me more than the other coaches I talked to. As far as their players, I felt I hit it off with those guys and it was just a good comfortable feeling."
Checking in at MSU at 6-9 and 225 pounds, Long had early offers from Tulane, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Lafayette before other schools got in the mix due to his breakout senior season. Over the past two weeks, Long was also offered by the likes of Tennessee, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia Commonwealth and Ole Miss.
Long also officially visited Tulane and Louisiana Tech and also took an unofficial visit to Louisiana-Lafayette.
This past year, Long averaged 21.3 points. 15 boards and eight blocked shots, which naturally helped him attract more schools in his recruitment. He was also an unknown on the AAU circuit since he only played one year of AAU ball and did not play last year.
"At the beginning of my senior year, I had a few schools offering me," said Long. "But then this spring more and more schools got involved and it made it become a difficult decision. But I know I made the right decision.
"All of the attention wasn't that much of a surprise, though. I play in a small town but after my senior year, more schools saw what I was able to do on the court. Mississippi State signed me as a wing type forward that can go inside and outside. They like my skill level and my ability to handle the ball well with my size. And I am only going to keep on getting better."
Long will be MSU's second signee of the spring signing period, joining Montgomery, Ala., native and fellow forward prospect Roquez Johnson.
Long also will be MSU's fifth signee for the Class of 2011 as Rodney Hood (Meridian, Miss.), Deville Smith (Jackson, Miss.) and D.J. Gardner (Okolona, Miss.) all signed in the fall.
"I am supposed to be there June 1st and then start summer school," said Long, who has already met academic qualifications. "It will be a good experience with our class coming in. We have some talented guys that can play at a high level, including myself. I really believe our class will make a lot of noise along with the guys already there. It's going to be a whole lot of fun."