"My first three years of high school, I thought my way to college would be with football," said Tennessee's Mr. Football in the Division 2-A classification the past two seasons and an all-state signal-caller for three years.
Then came last summer. At the suggestion of his dad, Mike, the University School of Jackson (Tenn.) product turned more of his attention to baseball.
"My dad gave me the idea of playing baseball last summer, so I played with Dulin's out of Memphis," said the 6-foot-2, 190-pound shortstop/second baseman. "That's really where I started to play better and get my name out there with baseball. That's when Ole Miss offered me."
He signed with the Rebels in November as his brother, Preston, was finishing up his first fall ball session at Ole Miss. This spring during another successful high school baseball season, Jake's stock rose. He batted .400 and hit 10 home runs. His glove was solid. His play didn't go unnoticed.
The Phillies told him they were interested. So did the Blue Jays. And the Twins. And some other professional ballclubs.
"There are a few teams," Jake said of those giving him some serious looks. "They're not telling me where they'll draft me. But a couple of them seem to really like me."
Preston was drafted in the 42nd round last June by Tampa Bay and chose to attend Ole Miss. Jake says the memories of Preston's senior season, the draft, and the summer before he went to college are still fresh in his own mind.
"Preston was in the same situation last year as I am now," said Jake, who will be 19 on Nov. 13. "We've talked about it a little, but not a whole lot. I'm remembering the stuff that Preston went through his senior year of high school, the situations, what he said and what all he did. I'm just trying to put that into what I'm doing this year."
He said he's studied what the draft is all about but actually not a lot.
"I've done a little research on it," Jake said. "I'm more just glad to have the opportunity of maybe getting selected this year. I'm not really expecting too much out of it. If anything does come out of it, then it will be a good opportunity."
Jake said Preston being at Ole Miss already is an important dynamic for his own situation.
"He's a real big influence on whether I'll be at Ole Miss or not," Jake said. "Getting to play SEC baseball with your brother side by side is a big opportunity. Not a lot of people get to do that. If I get drafted, what I'd do then is kind of weigh out the pros and cons of going to Ole Miss and having a career at Ole Miss and playing with my brother.
"I've seen him this year that by going to Ole Miss he's gotten a whole lot bigger, stronger, better," Jake continued. "I'm just thinking about how those years at Ole Miss can help me out if I don't go (pro)."
Some of that might clear up next week. Or it could become more cloudy. Then he'll have until school starts in August to make a decision.
"I'm trying not to be (nervous)," Jake said. "I'm trying to go in not expecting anything out of it. It would just be an honor to get drafted anywhere."
The following are members of the incoming class of baseball players for the Rebels:
Auston Bousfield: 5-11, 175, OF, Orlando, Fla. (West Orange High)
Hawtin Buchanan: 6-8, 245, RHP, Biloxi (High)
Dylan Chavez: 6-3, 190, LHP, American River College, Sacramento, Calif.
Chris Ellis: 6-5, 195, RHP, Hoover, Ala. (Spain Park High)
John Gatlin: 6-4, 200, SS, Itawamba CC (Tupelo High)
Ryan Hornback: 6-0, 185, C, San Jacinto (TX) CC
Will Jamison: 6-1, 175, OF, Memphis, Tenn. (Evangelical Christian School)
Josh Laxer: 6-0, 180, RHP, Madison, (Central High)
Casey Mulholland: 6-4, 200, RHP, Bradenton, Fla. (IMG)
Sikes Orvis: 6-2, 215, 1B/3B, Orlando, Fla., (Freedom High)
Jake Overbey: 6-2, 190, SS/2B, University School of Jackson (Tenn.)
Michael Reed: 6-0, 195, OF/RHP, Leander, Texas (High)
Chase Reeves: 6-0, 195, OF/LHP, Hamilton (High)
Tyler Roach: 6-3, 215, 1B/OF, Northwest Shoals CC (Ala.)
Sam Smith: 6-5, 205, RHP, Lake Charles, La. (Barbe High)
Football signee/baseball player: Senquez Golson 5-9, 190, OF, Pascagoula (High)
All Baseball Now
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