Season of Opportunity

Clay Casey committed to Ole Miss last July, signed with the Rebels in November, and in June will likely have a decision to make.

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That's because the center fielder from DeSoto Central High School is projected to be a high draft pick when the MLB draft starts on June 5.

"I've heard second round, third round. But I don't know," said the 6-foot-3, 196-pounder who is having a sensational senior season.

It's a season that's caught the eyes of scouts, but Casey was already on their radar long before that.

He's batting .515 with 13 home runs, five triples, seven doubles, and 46 RBI. And he's doing all that on a team that's loaded with talent, some of that talent, along with Casey, committed to or signed with Ole Miss.

Kyle Watson, a short stop, is a senior who signed with the Rebels in November. Dallas Woolfolk, a right-handed pitcher, is a junior who committed to Ole Miss earlier this spring.

Three of their teammates are committed to Mississippi State. At least two others are expected to get Southeastern Conference offers at some point.

DCHS is...well, Casey explains it best.

"We've got unreal talent here. Our team is loaded with seven, eight, nine SEC caliber guys," he said.

It's why they are still in the Class 6A playoffs and making a run at a state title. The Jaguars got past Hernando last weekend by scores of 20-0 and 12-0. Next up is a series with Northwest Rankin.

"We have three more series to win state," Casey said, confident DCHS can get it done. "We haven't won state yet. This is the team that can do it."

One of the reasons they have a good shot is Casey. He's worked on his swing this season and feels he is better than ever.

"I'm seeing the ball really well this year," he said, commenting on some adjustments he has made with his swing. "The big thing is, my dad and I are going back to my old swing this year. Just keeping extended through the ball flat hand and blocking out on pitches. My top hand comes off the bat and you get a full extension through the ball. That's the main difference. I don't keep both hands on the bat like most people. As soon as I make contact, my hand comes off, and I stay through it."

It works for some. It clearly works for the right-handed hitting Casey.

Clay Casey
File Photo

"Ever since going back to that I've been hitting good. I'm trying to get back to what I do best. I'm seeing the ball really well," Casey said, confidently.

Casey said he's hearing the talk of the draft, but for now he's mostly blocking it out.

"There are a lot of people talking to me. A lot of people ask me what's going to happen," he said. "I honestly don't know. I don't care right now. I'm focused on a state championship. Then I'm going to Ole Miss after that. I'm focused on that."

Of course, from the end of the season until the June 5 draft will be an interesting time. Casey's name shows up in a lot of places. Earlier this school year, Baseball America had him as the 40th high school prospect in the country.

"We decided not to worry about it until the season's over," Casey said of the draft. "Then we'll see what we think I'm worth against everybody else in the nation. We'll have a number by then probably. Right now we don't have one."

Casey said the past year has been almost a whirlwind, in a good way, for him. He had no idea what was coming back then.

"It's exciting. Just a year ago, no college had even offered me. I was focused on football," he said. "So it's definitely exciting that I've gotten all these opportunities that have showed up in the past year."

For now, it's all about DeSoto Central and winning more games.

"I'm just doing what I do and trying to help the team win a state championship," he said. "Take care of business and help my team. See how it goes and keep praying about it.

"I assume it will be a tough one," he said of the decision he may have to make this summer, "but either way it will work out. It will be what I want to do."

Adding to it all is that he's red and blue through and through.

"Auston Bousfield was my host on my official visit. I like him a lot," Casey said, as the center fielders got to know each other and as he met other Ole Miss players. "That was also on the day of the football game against LSU last fall. And that was a very good day."

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