Signee Profile: Jeff Bouton

Inside Carolina profiles UNC's 2010 baseball recruiting class. Today the spotlight is on Jeff Bouton, an outfielder from Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard.

For more on UNC baseball recruiting, visit Inside Carolina's Diamond Heels Forum.
Bio: Bouton is a 6-1, 205-pound outfielder. He is ranked No. 20 in the state by Perfect Game and No. 442 in the nation. His high school career was plagued by injuries, starting with injuring his back his sophomore season after a growth spurt and then suffering an elbow injury his junior year, limiting him to a designated hitter role. Bouton has played with the Impact Baseball Dirtbags during the summer and was honored as a Perfect Game Honorable Mention All American. He has been chosen as a team captain for his senior season and is an outstanding student, as a member of the "A" Honor Roll for six semesters.

Recruitment: Bouton turned heads with a stunning performance at the North Carolina State Games, which jumpstarted his recruitment. However, when an offer arrived from North Carolina, his recruitment ended just as quickly as it began.

"It basically started after State Games and I did really well at the State Games," Bouton said. "My summer coach Andy Partin asked me my top five schools and of course I stated my top school was North Carolina then the other ones. Then I guess he talked with them ... after a couple more tournaments I was getting contacted by Carolina and Coach Jackson is a family friend of ours and he kept it real with us. Coach Forbes and Coach Jackson talked with me after the State Games and at the Firecracker Classic at South Carolina when they really took notice of me."

Bouton committed to North Carolina over offers from South Carolina, NC State and UNC-W.

Why Carolina?: "North Carolina is a dynasty and prestige school academically and for baseball. I love the campus environment and I used to come up there to watch games. Garrett Gore was up there and he said a lot of good things about UNC and he was from Hoggard - we were really good friends with him and he talked highly about it and stated, 'If you want to have a good time and play good baseball - that is the place to go.' I only heard good things about Carolina Baseball."

Scouting Report: Bouton is a versatile athlete. He has great speed on the bases and has the ability to hit for average and power. He has a strong arm either in the outfield or on the mound, where he throws in the low 90s and has a curveball that he can throw for strikes according to his high school coach.

Coach Quotes: "Jeff is a tremendous teammate," stated his coach at Hoggard, Gerald 'Jeep' St. Ledger. "I will tell you what, he is a tremendous person and as an athlete there are none better. He is the total package. He can run, throw, hit and hit with power. He is a tremendous athlete and he is a better person too and a tremendous student and this is our third guy from Hoggard going to North Carolina after Garrett Gore and Scott Senatore.

"His determination is his best trait as a baseball player. It is kind of hard to pick one specific one. He stole bases for us and hits for power but he is just determined and like most of our kids he just loves playing the game of baseball."

Future Plans: "I don't think there really could be anything to make me want to [sign] after the draft after high school. If it was a ridiculous amount of money - which it is probably not going to be - I still want my education. The draft will still be there in four years and it is not going anywhere and I want to go through the whole college experience and I want to play for Carolina. A lot of kids get to get drafted out of high school, but the kids that do [sign] will never know what it was like to play in college. College players play out of the heart more than professional players …

"I want to start as a freshman. I am so competitive and I don't want to take ‘no' as an answer. Even with Brian Goodwin - an AFLAC All-American - and Chaz Frank. I want to beat them - that is what I do. I love them to death but I want to be one of the three outfielders on the field."

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