One Look Was All It Took

Tyler Roach visited Ole Miss for the Auburn football weekend, and that was about all it took for the junior college first baseman to pick the Rebels. He will sign this week.

A 6-foot-3, 215-pounder who hits and throws left-handed, Roach is a sophomore at Northwest Shoals Community College in Alabama. Norcross, Ga., is his hometown.

Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia State and Troy were all in the picture for his baseball future. But after his visit to Oxford, his decision was basically made.

"I love the atmosphere," he said of his weekend on campus and in town. "The small community was great. I liked all the people I met. I felt really comfortable with the coaches, especially (head) Coach (Mike) Bianco. I just had a good feeling about the whole thing."

As a freshman for Northwest Shoals last spring, Roach hit .384 with six home runs and 42 RBI. He walked 23 times and struck out 20. He was named to the All Northern (Alabama) Region team and to the All-Tournament team in the state junior college tournament.

Roach is a solid hitter who will only improve this year before arriving at Ole Miss for the fall of 2011.

"I hit six home runs last season – two over the left field fence, two over right, and to over center," he said. "I'm gap to gap and feel I hit well to all fields. I take pride in being able to do that, and I feel I have some power and will continue to improve in that area."

Roach was mainly recruited as a first baseman, but it was also mentioned that he can play either of the corner outfield positions well. No matter the position, Roach is always looking to improve his game.

"I want to continue to work on my defensive skills this year," he said. "I want to become a better hitter. Last year I felt like I hit the ball well, but I want to continue to improve on that. I feel like I'm a good baserunner, and I want to come in (next year) and be a leader for the team."

Roach started for four years in high school and also pitched some for his team. He's always been known as a versatile player.

"I would say I'm real athletic and can play first base well," he said. "I move well at first and I'm able to take care of most plays defensively. I'm continuing to work to improve there, and I look forward to having a successful sophomore season here (at NW Shoals) in that area."

Current Rebels like Matt Crouse and Miles Hamblin were hosts on his visit, and he was able to meet basically all the players.

"We sat together during the (Ole Miss-Auburn) football game," he said. "They have great (baseball) facilities. The stadium (lights) were lit up, and it looked unbelievable. The hitting facility is outstanding."

Roach said he's happy to have his decision behind him as far as which Division I school he will play for after junior college.

"There's definitely a lot less stress now," he said, mentioning it basically came down to Ole Miss and Tennessee. "I'm glad to have that weight off my shoulders. I can focus on my team here now, and I'm happy to have it over with.

"One visit (to Ole Miss) and I was sold."


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