There is no doubt in the mind of Starkville Academy soccer coach Robert Gardner that Tiffany Huddleston has the tools to be successful at Mississippi State.
Huddleston signed a national letter of intent Wednesday morning to play soccer for the Bulldogs. She was surrounded by family and friends at the SA media center.
Gardner has enjoyed watching Huddleston develop her soccer skills over the last couple of years.
"Athletically, I've never had a player, who has as many athletic qualities as she does," Gardner said. "She's as gifted as anyone I know. She will be happy to work within the system the coach has for her and she will be more than willing to work for the team."
Huddleston committed to MSU during her sophomore season and has been preparing for the next level ever since.
As far as what to get ready for, Huddleston said the physical nature of playing in the Southeastern Conference will be a challenge. It is one she is ready to embrace.
"I'm not going to back down from it," Huddleston said. "I'm looking to work for it and improve my game."
Even after letting her college choice known early, Huddleston didn't have any problem staying committed to the Bulldogs.
She's fond of Starkville and can see herself living here for a long time.
"For most people, it might not have been as easy for them (to remain committed), but for me, it was easy because I'm a Bulldog at heart," Huddleston said. "Living in Starkville and growing up here my whole life, it wasn't a tough thing.
"I love Starkville. Some people can't wait to get out, but I can see myself raising my family here. I won't be far away from my sisters, so I can still be involved with whatever they've got going on in high school."
Gardner called it a "unique situation" that Huddleston is able to play college soccer in her hometown.
She follows boys soccer players Zach Slaughter and Colby Henderson, who have signed out of the Volunteer soccer program over the past month.
"It's exciting for the program," Gardner said. "It's an exciting time and a credit to the players for how hard they've worked. It's exciting for me to get to see them playing the game that they do enjoy."
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