Booneville, Miss. - Tucker Childers is extending his family's legacy of competing in one of the toughest leagues in the nation following his sophomore season at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Childers confirmed his commitment to traditional baseball powerhouse Mississippi State University during the NCAA's early signing period on Wednesday, November 8.
"I don't know if I've ever been around a guy that deserves this more," said Tigers headman Richy Harrelson. "He's one of the hardest working players that we've ever had here. He wins in everything that he does. We're really, really excited for him to get this chance.
"He's going to fit in well with what they want to do. He can hit the ball a long way. Nobody can teach what he does. He's very gifted and his work ethic is off the chart. He's just a very, very smart and intelligent player."
The Bulldogs are one of college baseball's premier programs with nine appearances at the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb., and 11 Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships. Mississippi State qualified for the NCAA Hattiesburg Regional last year under the direction of new head coach Andy Cannizaro.
Childers' dad, Charles, was a standout on the gridiron in the SEC as a punter at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) from 1987-90. However, it is the Rebels' rival institution that the rising sophomore slugger will join in the spring of 2019.
"I grew up a Mississippi boy and I always dreamed about going to one of the big two (Mississippi State or Ole Miss)," Childers said. "I can't describe how excited I am. It probably hasn't even hit me yet. It's humbling and it's going to be crazy."
Childers was already a highly sought after player during his prep days at Ripley High School, but saw his stock increase even more during his inaugural campaign on the Booneville campus.
He was sensational at the plate all year long and finished second on the team with a solid .367 batting average in 158 plate appearances. His .437 on-base percentage and .662 slugging percentage were both second best for Northeast as well.
Childers was one of three Tigers that compiled over 50 base knocks last season. He tallied 51 total hits during his freshman season and also racked up a team-high 21 extra base hits.
The 6-3, 220-pound left-handed hitter belted 10 home runs, which was sixth most in the state and the highest since National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American Chase Porch went yard 10 times himself in 2008.
His 43 RBIs were the most by any Northeast athlete since recent University of Memphis (Tenn.) graduate Trent Turner drove in 50 runs during the memorable 2014 campaign.
He also started several games as the Tigers' designated hitter and scored 17 runs when in that role. Childers' stellar on-base percentage was aided by 12 walks and six hit by pitches.
The remainder of his extra base hits were 11 doubles, which was tied for second for Northeast. He had four three-hit games and recorded multiple hits in 14 outings with the Tigers.
Childers had a season-best seven-game hitting streak in the middle of the year. Perhaps his best effort was in the first contest of a doubleheader at Northwest Mississippi Community College where he had two homers and seven RBIs.
The Ripley native caught 11 runners attempting to steal, which was fifth most in the Magnolia State. He earned Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State honors for his work at the plate and behind the dish.
"I've definitely developed and matured as a player and a person. I never could have imagined it in high school," said Childers. "Growing up, I never really dreamed of playing in the MLB. I always dreamed of playing SEC baseball. It's so unreal."
He will become the first Tiger to suit up for the Bulldogs since Will Coggin from 2007-08. Current pitching coach Jon Andy Scott was the last Northeast star to play in the SEC from 2011-13 while at Ole Miss.
Childers is one of five returning position player starters for the Tigers, who begin what should be an extremely promising 2018 season during the first full week of February.