MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — The Junior College route affected the way former Lake Cormorant standout Brayland Skinner plays the game.
“I feel like coming out of high school going to a JUCO is really tough on any athlete,” said Skinner.
There’s a certain level of commitment and drive you need to be successful there, something Skinner learned at Northwest Mississippi Community College.
“It’s like a grind for sure. Like, there ain’t no off days and you don’t get the luxury like D1 schools or anything like that. So it’s definitely a change and it’s definitely like something you have to be willing to fight for and like give it all for.”
Skinner is bringing that grind and that underdog mentality to the Tigers. The former Mississippi State outfielder and National Champion announced he’s playing his final season of collegiate baseball at the university just 20 minutes away from home.
“I feel like at the end of the day he’s going to want to do one thing and that’s win.”
Skinner said the closeness to home played a part in his decision to commit to the Tigers, but he’s more excited about the direction of this program under new head coach Kerrick Jackson.
“The plan was just to let me come in here and kind of feel my way in and not have as much pressure on me as I think I should have coming out here and playing. Everybody like bought into the process of just winning. So, whenever he told me that, it kind of had me thinking he was actually trying to change this program around and make them a top 50 program.”
Skinner is Jackson’s second SEC transfer since he was formally introduced last week. Skinner joining former Georgia pitcher Glenn Green III.
With the new additions and majority of the Tigers staying on board, Skinner believes the Tigers can make some noise next season.
“I feel like he really can especially like with the hype he has around his name. I feel like he’ll win those big recruits that normally Memphis doesn’t get.”
Guys like Skinner, a big portal pick up for Jackson and the Tigers.
In his first season down at Starkville, Skinner had 10 RBIs and scored 19 runs, none bigger than the game winning run to send the Bulldogs to the College World Series finals.