Draft Day arrives as Rebs prepare for Miami

The Ole Miss Rebels are playing the Miami Hurricanes in a Super Regional this weekend in Oxford. But today and tomorrow the draft-eligible players will be casting a glance at the MLB draft to see if their name is called. Some may have decisions to make.

The draft has begun and several Rebels are anxiously watching. Count Chris Coghlan in that number.

"I'm excited to actually get it over with," Coghlan said. "It's been a little stressful for a while. I'm excited to get it over with no matter what and focus on playing Miami."

The junior third baseman says it will take something special for him to leave early, like a top round pick or two. My guess is Chris will have to consider it if he is in the top five or six rounds.

"Right now I'm planning on coming back (to Ole Miss)," he said. "If I go really high then I'll change my mind. I plan to come back, but I will know more (today). Anything in the top couple of rounds and maybe three or four, then it would be something to consider."

Coghlan said it's been better for him to go the route of planning to stay than to plan on being a pro player by later this month.

"I've gone into it preparing to come back," he said. "If I'd banked on leaving no matter what and things didn't work out, then it might be a letdown. I'm just looking at it that if I go in those top rounds, then I'll likely go. If not, then I'll probably stay."

Coghlan says as the season moved on he adjusted to the fact that he was being watched more than ever by scouts.

"As the year progressed, I learned to handle it," Coghlan said. "At the beginning of the year I seemed to think about it more. As we started to win more, I played better and didn't think about it as much. It's been a fun year and I wouldn't take anything back."

Coghlan could experience two of the real highs an amateur baseball player could have starting today. If he's drafted early and if the Rebels win the Super Regional, it could be one special month for the Floridian.

"It would be unbelievable if I got the best of both worlds," he said. "To go to Omaha and win it and to fulfill my dreams of playing pro ball and maybe play in the big leagues one day, that would be the perfect scenario. But if we win the national championship and I come back and win another one, I wouldn't mind that either."

Other Ole Miss players to watch today as far as the draft are junior OF Mark Wright, junior OF Alex Presley, junior 1B C.J. Ketchum, junior catcher Justin Brashear, third-year sophomore 2B Justin Henry, junior P Garrett White, junior P Craig Rodriguez, and of course senior pitchers Stoney Stone and Tommy Baumgardner.

The best news so far from the draft for Ole Miss came Monday, the day before the draft. That's when Will Kline announced he was staying put and pitching for the Rebels again in 2007.

It isn't often you get that type announcement from that caliber of player who likely had improved his draft stock tremendously the past month. But Will says his love for Ole Miss, his enjoyment of playing for the Rebel program, and the fact that next year could be special again all contributed to his decision.

Kline is likely to pitch in the pros. It just won't be until after the 2007 college season.

"I've talked to some of the guys (who are in the pros now from Ole Miss)," Kline said. "They all love it. I was talking to (Anthony) Cupps. He's one of my best buds. He said it's awesome. But he told me to make up my mind and go with it and not regret it either way. So I decided to stay, and I certainly have no regrets."

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco says draft time is always interesting and can be a bit of an annoyance for a couple of days.

"It always comes at this time of year," he said. "It used to be during the College World Series until they pushed the season back a little. It's something we all deal with every year. It's probably not a perfect thing to have to do at this time of year, but it is what it is.

"The kids have to try to stay emotionally in the middle," Bianco continued. "If you're too up and get disappointed or too surprised or whatever, it can be tough. But it will be an exciting day for some, and for others it might be disappointing. After Wednesday it will be pushed aside until the season is over."


Bianco said he will start Kline and Brett Bukvich on the mound in games one and two respectively against the Hurricanes with Lance Lynn starting the "if needed" game.


Bianco was asked again Monday about the LSU situation.

"I'm trying to be as up front as possible," he said. "I don't know what else to say about it. You would have to be crazy if you don't think myself, the coaches, and the players aren't focused on playing the University of Miami. What happened (Sunday at LSU), I don't know what else to say or what else I can say, regardless of whatever you want to read into it or write or this or that. What else can you say? They got rid of a coach, and I don't know what else to say.

"We're only worried about the University of Miami," he concluded. "What else should we be worried about right now?"

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