Standout Auburn Signee Has Tough Decision to Make

This Auburn baseball signee will have to choose between the Tigers and professional baseball when the amateur draft rolls around in June.

Seale, Ala.–-One of Auburn's top baseball signees for 2006 is on a roll as a senior in helping his high school team to the top spot in the nation as the season draws to a close around the country. Outfielder Colby Rasmus from Russell County High is considered by many to be the top high school prospect in Alabama this season and with his stats there's little doubt that is the case.

Hitting in the leadoff spot ahead of younger brother Cory Rasmus and Kasey Kiker, Colby has been dominant this season for the Warriors. Currently 26-0 and ranked first in the latest Baseball America high school rankings, Russell County has been virtually unbeatable and much of the reason why is Rasmus.

"I think it has been going great," Rasmus says of his senior season. "I have been having fun. We're winning. That's the main thing for me. I'm batting .538 with 15 home runs and 46 runs batted in. I also have 20 stolen bases."

Colby Rasmus throws a pitch during last Friday's win over Benjamin Russell.

A 6-2, 180 center fielder, Rasmus also has the ability to pitch when needed. Entering last week's action he had thrown just four innings on the season, but pitched two and two/thirds innings in a victory over Benjamin Russell. While he can get the job done on the mound, his father Tony Rasmus, who is also Russell County's coach, says his future is likely in the outfield because of his ability to run and also swing the bat.

"I ran a 6.5 60 yard dash in college (Enterprise State Junior College) and he was a 6.7 guy this summer and he was going to beat me," Rasmus says of Colby. "He's whittled it down to a 6.6 and that's pretty fast. It's not Clete (Clete Thomas) fast, but it's pretty close. He's 92 or 93 MPH off the hill so he's got a great arm. He hits for average and he does have some power. With an aluminum bat he's got definite power. He's a possible five-tool guy.

"The only weakness I've ever seen from him is that he doesn't like to get up early in the morning and do much. That's a weakness that most of us have. On the baseball field, I'm going to tell you and my wife will tell you, I'm harder on them because I was a lazy ball player. I was a good ball player, and I was drafted, but I was a lazy ball player. I always said I didn't want my kids to look back and have the regrets I've got. I never had a dad growing up. I had mom's love and moms tell you how great you are. You don't always need to hear that.

" "Whenever they're lacking something I always try to point it out to them. I've always wanted them to be hard workers. They may never make it, but I've always wanted them to be the hardest working kids around. That's one thing he does. That son-of-a-gun will outwork anybody. I'll put him up against anybody. He may not outwork them, but they won't outwork him either.

"I hate to say this because the wheels may fall off tomorrow, but I've never, ever had a problem with him. Most parents can't say that and mine couldn't say that about me. I've never had a problem with him or Cory. They're just dreams to have."

Just where Colby winds up remains to be seen. He's already signed with Auburn, but that might not mean much if the right team drafts him in the amateur draft in June. Expected to go somewhere in the first five rounds by most draft speculations, Rasmus will have a tough decision to make. He says that the decision won't be that tough in the end because it will take something good to give up his dream of playing for the Tigers in Plainsman Park.

"It's a decision I'll have to make," Rasmus says. While he says there is no set draft choice or team that would make him sign, he says that if the numbers aren't right he's ready and anxious to get to Auburn and play baseball.

"I like everything about Auburn," Rasmus says. "The biggest thing for me was the coaches. I like all three of them. They're great guys. Auburn has great facilities. I have been an Auburn fan all my life. It's close to home and my grandparents could come watch me play. The main thing was really Coach (Tommy) Slater. We just connected really well and he's a good hitting coach. That's what I like to do is hit. I feel like he can help me with my hitting a lot."

Something Slater and Auburn has going for it to get Rasmus on campus is a signing class that features three former Little League teammates already on board from a team that lost in the championship game of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. LaGrange, (Ga.) High's Brandon Monk, Columbus, Ga., High's Zack Martin and Central (Phenix City) High's Bryan Woodall signed with the Tigers last fall in addition to Rasmus and that's something he says that will weigh heavily on his mind before he chooses between the Tigers and professional baseball.

"Of course I'm looking forward to that," Rasmus says. "We haven't played together in a while. I think us getting back together will be awesome. I think about it all the time, us getting back together and playing. How good we were back then and how good we would be now. I just can't wait to get there."

Colby isn't the only person ready to see how well the group will play together in the future, the same is true of his father. Tony Rasmus was the coach of that famed world series team that ran through everyone in its path before losing in the finals. After building strong relationships with the members of the team, he says he can't wait to see them all again in Auburn beginning next season.

"Me and my wife are going to have season tickets because I can't wait," Rasmus says. "I can't wait. I just pray that all of them end up there. I know Zack (Martin) is going to be there and I know (Bryan) Woodall is going to be there for sure. I've got a real good idea that Colby is going to have a chance to be there.

"(Brandon) Monk, I don't know. He's the wildcard. He's a baseball player 120 percent of the time. He'll be a great college player. I loved all those kids and I still do. I went and watched Bryan play at Smiths Station and he hit a home run. He came off the field and came over to me while the game was still going on. He gave me a high five and hugged my neck. I love those kids.

"What we went through was special. A lot of people get up every day and go to the field with their kids and just hope they'll do the kinds of things we went through. The thing about it is you can't buy your way into it. It's a special thing we went through. We were all one big family and worked hard to achieve the things they achieved. I'm just excited about the possibility of them all playing. I can't wait. It's exciting for me to even think about."

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