Diamond Dogs Add Three More

Nick Vickerson

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State has reached into Alabama, Georgia and Texas for its latest signees of the 2008-09 college baseball recruiting campaign.

Joining the initial Bulldog recruiting class of first-year MSU skipper John Cohen are left-handed pitcher Matt Lane of Marietta, Ga. (Pope High School), outfielder Jaron Shepherd of Kilgore, Texas (Kilgore High School/Navarro College) and shortstop Nick Vickerson of Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Hillcrest High School/Florida State/Shelton State).

"With this recruiting class we are meeting some of our immediate needs --- at shortstop, in the outfield and on the mound," said Cohen. "If they continue to develop, these young men will have a chance to play the game of baseball for some time, at the collegiate level and beyond."

Mississippi State has now announced 12 signees during the week-long November signing period for baseball, which ends Nov. 19.

Matt Lane. LHP, 6-5, 180, R-L, Marietta, Ga. (Pope High School)

HIGH SCHOOL: A three-year standout at Marietta's Pope High School … Coached by Jeff Rowland … Compiled a 5-2 record with a 2.50 earned run average pitching for the PHS Greyhounds ... Registered 56 strikeouts in 45 innings of mound duty ... All-region selection as a junior in 2008 … Recipient of the team's Cy Young Award ... Played summer league baseball with the 16U AAU Junior Olympic champion East Cobb Astros, coached by Guerry Baldwin, and for the 17U BCS National Champion East Cobb Braves, coached by Kevin Baldwin.

PERSONAL: Born Matthew Russell Lane on August 11, 1990 in Jackson, Miss. ... Son of Ginny and Jim Lane of Marietta, Ga.

COHEN ON LANE: "Matt has potential written all over him. He possesses a very projectable 6-5 frame, an upper 80's fastball and true spin on his breaking ball. His development over the coming seasons will be exciting to watch."

Jaron Shepherd, OF, 6-2, 180, L-L, Kilgore, Texas (Kilgore HS/Navarro College)

JUNIOR COLLEGE: Earned all-conference honors as a freshman at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas ... Coached by Whoa Dill … Compiled a .353 batting average with 12 doubles and four home runs in 2008 ... Ranked as the No. 2 junior college baseball player in Texas ... A 17th round draft pick (504th overall selection) of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008.

HIGH SCHOOL: Three-sport standout at Kilgore High School ... Two-time offensive MVP playing for coaches Jeff Blackstone and Tim Harkrider ... Compiled a .500 batting average with a .985 on-base percentage in district competition ... Hit .524 in district play as a junior ... Earned first-team All-East Texas pick and All-Region honors as an outfielder ... Three-year standout for the Kilgore HS football Bulldogs, twice earning first-team all-district and All-East Texas honors ... Honored as the defensive newcomer of the year on Kilgore's 2004 state championship team.

PERSONAL: Born Jaron Jordan Shepherd on October 30, 1988 in Indianapolis, Ind. ... Son of Janda and Ronald Shepherd ... Father was a second-round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays and played for the Blue Jays from 1984 to 1986.

COHEN ON SHEPHERD: "Jaron is a multi-talented player who plays hard and attacks the game. He comes from a highly-successful junior college program and should make an immediate impact at Dudy Noble Field and the SEC."

Nick Vickerson, SS, 6-0, 195, R-R, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Hillcrest High School/Florida State University/Meridian Community College)

2008 SEASON: Initially signed with Meridian (Miss.) Community College before transferring mid-year to Florida State University ... Hit .400 with three RBI in 13 games played with the Seminoles ... Will play his sophomore season in 2009 for coach Bobby Sprowl at Shelton State in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

HIGH SCHOOL: Three-year starting shortstop at Tuscaloosa's Hillcrest High School ... Helped lead coach Todd Agee's HHS Patriots to a 44-20 record and the Class 6A state title in 2007 ... Hit .407 with 20 doubles, four triples, nine home runs, a state-record 85 runs and 19 stolen bases en route to all-state honors as a senior ... Named team defensive MVP in both 2006 and 2007 ... Participated in the East Coast Showcase in Wilmington, N.C. ... Also played one year of varsity basketball ... Four-year high school honor roll ... Member of the Beta Club at Hillcrest High School.

PERSONAL: Born Nickolaus James Vickerson on July 8, 1989 in Limestone, Maine ... Son of Rebecca Hicks and Richard Vickerson.

COHEN ON VICKERSON: "Nick is an extremely confident player who has a passion for the game. He is a tremendous defender with the drive and desire to compete at the highest level."

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