With six home runs, nine doubles and 44 hits, Wes Rea has made his presecne known as Mississippi State marches toward its first home regional since 2003, but it should be no surprise that Rea sticks out in a crowd.
The 6'5", 272 lb first baseman picked diamond dog baseball over championship football.
"Oh yea, it was difficult, man," said Rea. "Because, I mean, I had offers like LSU and Alabama and places like that where they're sittin' there winning national championships. So they (Alabama coach Nick Saban and LSU Coach Les Miles) both came to Harrison Central high school in Gulfport and saw me."
Rea wasn't just good; he was phenomenal. He made all-state twice as a guard on Harrison Central's offensive line and was selected to play in the Mississippi/Alabama high school all-star game. He received several football scholarship offers, including one from Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, who is still hopeful Rea will put on pads again.
"Oh yea. He still talks to me. When I see him around campus, he's wonering if I'm still itchin' to play some football. And we still have a good relationship back from high school recruiting..."
"Sometimes we're in fall practice at the beginning of August. We're like, 'Wes, don't you just wish you were out there doing two-a-days or out there in the pads,'" said senior pitcher Kendall Graveman. "But Wes is a great athlete, and you can't take that away from him. We're really proud that he came here and [he's] not playing football, but I'm sure some other people think differently."
Rea doesn't seem to pay much attention to the "what if's", because his love of the game runs deep.
"My dad, ya know, cuz he played and he coached me growing up, so it was always really special to me in that aspect," said Rea. "So I just had more of a connection with the fundamentals of baseballl and just the all-around tradition of baseball."
Rea's decision to be at Mississippi State is something he never regrets.
"People ask, 'why'd I pick to play baseball here?' I just... I knew the tradition of Mississippi State baseball was gonna come around. And coach Cohen was pointig in the right direction when he was recruiting me. And good things like this were gonna start happening. So everything's unfolding like I wanted it to.