It's Auburn All The Way For New Baseball Signee

Decatur, Ala.--When Ben Jones received a scholarship offer to play baseball for the Auburn Tigers, no other colleges had a chance to sign the good-hitting outfielder and honor student from Decatur High School.

The six-foot-one, 180-pounder, who is currently hitting .443 with seven homers and 15 doubles as a senior, grew up as a serious Auburn fan. Playing for the Tigers has been been a long-time goal and Auburn's first-year head baseball coach, Tom Slater, made that possible by making Jones the first spring signee of the 2005 class to go with 15 signees from the early period last November.

"I am really excited about signing with Auburn," Jones told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "My dad (Rusty Jones) went to Auburn and grew up there. Playing for Auburn is something I have always wanted to do."

Jones says that playing baseball in the SEC, and at Auburn in particular, will allow him to play at the highest level in college, something that appeals to him.

Jones, a straight "A" student at Decatur High, has received a variety of academic scholarship offers to go along with athletic scholarship offers. He plans to enroll in the Honors College at AU as an engineering student.

Slater says he is excited Jones is coming to the university. "He is a very good hitter who also has good arm strength. We got a chance to see Ben working in our camps and I am very proud that he has decided to sign with us. He brings with him an outstanding athletic and academic profile and we expect him to contribute to our outfield next year."

Jones, who also started at linebacker for the Decatur High football team last year, plays for a 20-13 team that has already qualified for the state playoffs. "We have one more region game and then we start the playoffs after that," he says.

Jones plans to visit the Auburn campus on Sunday to watch his cousin Paige Jones, who plays on the women's softball team. She and the other seniors will honored that day as they face LSU.

When asked who is the better hitter, Jones says he would give that distinction to his cousin. As a junior he was an honorable mention Class 6A All-State pick by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. He played in the 2004 North-South All-Star Game and the Super 100 Showcase held at Birmingham-Southern last summer. He is a three-year starter who plays for Coach Mike Burns.

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