Juco Outfielder Could Be Boost For Tigers

Junior college All-American Ryan Tella talks about signing with Auburn and his huge 2011 season.

Fremont, Cal.--With a large senior class gone off the 2011 Auburn team and juniors such as Casey McElroy, Dan Gamache and Derek Varnadore all among the possibilities to be drafted in Monday's Amateur Draft, Coach John Pawlowski and his staff are hoping for some good news out of the signee class when the draft comes and goes.

One of the names they'll be watching for is junior college outfielder 6-0, 175 Ryan Tella. A redshirt freshman in 2011, he had a huge season as his team came up just short in a bid to win the state championship

On his way to being named the Northern California Player of the year, an All-American, Coast Conference MVP and First-Team All-Conference, Tella hit .425 in the regular season with three home runs, eight triples and 13 doubles in 36 games. He had an on-base percentage of .476 from his leadoff spot and stole 20-21 bases.

"It was a huge honor," Tella said of being named the Player of the Year. "My coach and my team just helped me strive for it all. I didn't have those expectations coming in. I just had little goals. Those little goals just built up to those awards."

Playing center field for Ohlone College after redshirting his first year because of a minor injury, Tella could add even more speed for the Tigers next year in what could be a very good defensive outfield with Bobby Andrews back after his injury along with fellow freshman Jay Gonzalez. This year's center fielder Creede Simpson is draft eligible, but could be back as well.

Choosing Auburn over Washington after being offered by several prominent programs including Fresno State out of high school, Tella said the opportunity and lure of playing in the South and the SEC is what he's always dreamed of.

"I have just always wanted to leave California and go to the South," Tella said. "That has been the case since I was offered by Fresno State, but missed one class to go there. I just took a step back and wanted to see what was new and different out there. I thought Auburn was the best choice for me."

Getting to know a little about Auburn during the recruiting process before making his commitment, Tella said that when he took his official visit it only confirmed he had made the right decision. Visiting last fall for the Auburn-Arkansas football game he said the atmosphere and campus just blew him away.

"Coach Link (Jarret), Coach (John) Pawlowski and Coach Fox (Scott Foxhall) were all welcoming and nice," Tella said. "I got to see the football game. I just can't imagine what the baseball atmosphere is like. I watched the Tiger Walk. It's just such a big event at Auburn."

Planning to head to Auburn around the first of August, Tella said at the moment he's waiting to see what happens with the MLB Draft. Not sure if or when his name could be called he said it's always something you have to consider but he's focused on being a Tiger.

"The draft is a possibility, but Auburn just raised my scholarship a significant amount," Tella said. "I'm probably leaning even more towards Auburn now. That helps my family out a lot."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories