LSU dips into Mississippi for Class of 2022 baseball commitment

There was a time when Aiden Moffett doubted his own ability to become a Division I baseball player.

“I was banking on going junior college because I would get down about myself,” Moffett said. “I was not expecting to get D1 attention. Then, it went crazy in a short period of time.”

Despite having his sophomore season at Taylorsville (Miss.) High cut short in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, Moffett prepared to pitch this summer with the Louisiana Knights’ 16U Black team.

Moffett, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-hander, credited a span in May and June when he pitched in showcase events in Emerson, Ga. and Hoover, Ala. It unlocked the door on his recruiting process that led to an offer from LSU and his subsequent commitment to the Tigers’ recruiting Class of 2022.

“LSU was the one (scholarship offer) I was waiting for,” said Moffett, also an offensive lineman/defensive end on Taylorsville’s football team. “I knew at the end of the day I would regret not taking this offer and not being able to play at my dream school.”

Moffett, the Taylorsville staff ace, went 2-1 in three appearances this past abbreviated season with a 0.88 earned run average with 23 strikeouts and 12 walks in 16 innings.

A year ago as a freshman during Taylorsville’s march to the Class 2A South Championship, Moffett was 1-1 and had a 2.20 ERA with 52 strikeouts and 22 walks as the team’s No. 3 starter. He also batted .315 with five doubles, two homers and 27 RBIs for his team which finished 27-10.

Those accomplishments flew under the radar until Moffett recently turned his attention to the summer and a travel ball season with the Mandeville-based Louisiana Knights.

Moffett, the state’s of Mississippi’s No. 16 prospect in the Class of 2022, had remained active during the pandemic. He prepared for summer play by throwing bullpens in which he reached between 88-91 miles-per-hour, or about where he began his sophomore season.

Not only had he maintained his fastball speed, but he continually developed secondary pitches. His improved slider and curveball showed up big at the U16 Elite Championships and U16 Perfect Game Elite Championships.

Once word of Moffett’s exploits reached social media, interest from college coaches soon followed.

Louisiana Knights president and Los Angeles Dodgers scout Jack Cressend kept Moffett abreast of his rising interest, shuttling messages from college coaches to get Moffett to call them when available.

Moffett received his first three scholarship offers on June, 15, first from Southern Mississippi followed by Texas A&M and UL-Lafayette. A day later, Louisiana Tech followed.

Then, there were three more over the next week including LSU, a place Moffett’s older brother regarded as a ‘dream’ school because of his fascination with the Tigers football program.

“My brother kind of built me up as a Tigers fan around six years old,” he said. “He loved LSU football and I started liking it. Then, I started liking LSU baseball. He kind of got me into it and I’ve been a diehard Tigers fan since.”

In the COVID-19 world, college recruiting has looked noticeably different. The NCAA’s dead period has been extended through August, prohibiting coaches from attending summer events and having face-to-face contact with players.

“I’ve gone to Perfect Game the last two years and there was nothing but scouts,” said Moffett, who will pitch with the Louisiana Knights in upcoming events this month in Atlanta and Lake Charles. “This year it was parents and little kids.”

Host sites are live streaming the majority of its games, enabling college coaches to watch keep a watchful prospects of interest. It’s something LSU told about Moffett before of one of his starts.

His offer from the Tigers came later the same day after he pitched.

“One thing that LSU liked was that I worked out of a lot of jams,” said Moffett, noting his improved mental toughness from when he was younger during similar challenging scenarios. “I was sitting up to 91-92 but if I got into a jam, I never folded.”

Moffett also maintained composure when he was extended an offer to become a member of the Tigers baseball program. It didn’t take him long to commit, given the reverence he held for LSU.

“Oh my God, is this real?,” he said of LSU’s offer. “The dream school’s trying to recruit me. It was very overwhelming. The second time I talked to (LSU) Coach (Paul) Mainieri, I had my mom with me on the phone. He wanted me to be 100 percent sure when I committed.

“It’s just different there, the life from those 8 to 10,000 people. It’s amazing. I wanted to have that feeling of having all of those people behind me.  It’s a dream and right now that dream’s coming true.”

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