In one swoop covering less than 24 hours, Mississippi State has taken two of the Chattanooga area's top prospects off college football recruiting boards.
Baylor quarterback Nick Tiano committed to the Bulldogs on Thursday evening, following a one-day camp in Starkville, Miss., and Signal Mountain tackle Harrison Moon gave coach Dan Mullen his commitment Friday just before lunch.
"I've had a good vibe ever since I came down here," Moon said before an on-campus meeting Thursday with the school's academics advisers. "I got to sit down with the coaches and I've hung out with some of the players. I just knew this was the place. It's everything I've wanted in a school."
Tiano wound up staying over on Thursday after learning that good friend Moon would be in Starkville.
"It's a dream come true to play college football, and to have one of my best friends doing it with me is unbelievable," Tiano said. "I have developed a good relationship with the coaches and like the people around the program. They're a program on the rise. The fans are great, the football's great and they have a major (business management/sports management) that I'm very interested in."
Tiano had offers from Miami and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and had planned to accept camp invitations from Ole Miss, West Virginia and Wake Forest. Moon had offers from Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, South Florida, UTC and Western Kentucky. Both were at Alabama earlier this week.
"I didn't see any reason to wait. This opportunity was there, and it's exactly what I want in a school," Moon said.
"I'm glad it's over," Tiano said of the recruiting process. "It is a blessing to even be recruited, but it's also a burden. I knew that I wanted to make a decision before [the 2014] season started."
The two became friends when recruiting began to warm up for each.
"For the last year and a half we've been hanging out a lot and working out together. We're planning to room together this fall," Tiano said.
Moon will be a third-year starter for Signal Mountain, but this will be his first season at tackle full time. The 6-foot-6, 280-pounder played tight end as a sophomore and spent part of his junior season there.
"I'll be a tackle, although I don't know which side. Tackle felt more natural and I think I was better at it," Moon said.
The 6-4, 230-pound Tiano split time at quarterback as a sophomore with Michael O'Connor, who's now at Penn State, before taking over full-time last season.
"Nick's a kid that definitely has a big-league arm. He's a big kid that can stay in the pocket and throw the ball, and he has the size to protect himself," Baylor coach Phil Massey said. "There's still a lot of untapped potential. He hasn't peaked with what he'll do as a quarterback, and he will be a great ambassador for Mississippi State. He's the kind of kid you enjoy coaching and one that you don't have to worry about off the field."
Signal Mountain coach Bill Price is equally high on Moon.
"Harrison's a quiet kid, but he has done what it takes in the classroom and in the weight room, and that's why he's where he is today," Price observed. "They say the great ones are the ones that do the little extras, and Harrison has always been one of those that did the extra little things that make him better."
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him on Twitter.com/wardgossett.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...