"I've committed to Mississippi State," said Luke Alexander. "I told Coach Cohen. He seemed to be excited. I could tell he was excited by what he said and by his facial expression."
Belmont head baseball coach Andy Deaton felt it was a very special moment.
"You are sitting in John Cohen's office and you have a fourteen-year-old kid who hasn't stepped on the field to play high school and Coach Cohen sees something special in him," said Deaton. "And Luke tells Coach Cohen that, 'I want to play baseball for you.' "
It was definitely a special moment for the fourteen-year-old Alexander, who grew up a Bulldog fan.
"I have liked State all my life and that is just where I have always wanted to go," said the youngster. "I liked Ole Miss and State at first but as the years went on I started liking State a lot more. I went to a lot of their games and started loving it there."
It appears the hiring of John Cohen sealed the deal for Alexander.
"Coach Cohen played a big factor in it," said Alexander. "He's hard core and that's how I want it to be."
Cohen saw the specialness of Alexander at an early age.
"Coach Cohen probably said it best - he said Luke's just got it," said Deaton.
And the it factor was the reason that Luke earned an honor that very, very few fourteen-year-old baseball players earn - making the 2010 14-Under USA National Team. Tens of thousands throughout the United States tried out for the team last summer but only 18 kids made the team. And Luke was one of the 18.
Coach Deaton, who next to Luke's dad Nick Alexander sees the talent Luke possesses better than anybody else, tried to explain the unique talent that Luke has, a talent Coach Cohen simply describes as it.
"His hand-eye coordination is phenomenal as far as his batting, and when he gets on the base paths he pretty much has the green light to steal because he just has a knack for reading pitchers," said Deaton. "A lot of times he will be out on the field and he will do things that make you go wow and you have to remind yourself that he's still just fourteen. It's really uncanny for a kid his age to have the ability that he has as far as the mental part and athletic part. I guess you could say he's a student of the game."
Although the ability is there, Luke also has one other thing that will help him reach his immense potential - his work ethic.
"He really works on his game," said Deaton. "Whatever he needs to work on he works on it. He knows what he has to do to get to where he wants to go."
Luke initially committed to Cohen last fall but waited until now to announce it. As for why he waited about nine months to announce his commitment, according to Deaton, Cohen played a factor in that.
"Coach Cohen really wanted to be careful with him," said Deaton. "He didn't want him to go public with it last fall because of the pressure that would be put on Luke."
With Luke now wanting to go public with his decision, Deaton and Cohen talked last week about the magnitude of Luke going public with his commitment.
"When Coach Cohen and I talked last week he said you have to be careful with these type situations," said Deaton. "He just wanted to make sure Luke knew what kind of pressure he would be under once he made it public."
Deaton, Luke and Luke's dad spent an hour and a half Wednesday night discussing Luke's public announcement of his commitment. Both men wanted Luke to understand the magnitude of his decision to announce at such an early age.
"We wanted him to know the magnifying class that he will be under even more once he made his commitment known," said Deaton. "Last night when we talked to him about it, we wanted him to know that everything he does will now be scrutinized, especially the negatives. When he goes four-for-four he will be expected to go four-for-four, but when he does something wrong in the field, goes 0-for-3 or commits an error, that is what people are going to notice."
When it was all said and done, Luke decided he was ready to make the commitment known to the public. And Luke couldn't be happier.
"It feels great to finally get to say that I have committed (to Mississippi State) and not have to hold it in any longer," said Luke.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.