Cullan Kight ready for preseason practice

Cullan Kight attended quite a few Ole Miss baseball games before he arrived on campus for school in the fall of 2005. He watched from the stands as the Rebels hosted an NCAA Regional and Super Regional his senior year of high school.

Last year as a freshman at Ole Miss he watched again. He was redshirted his first year in college but now stands poised to make a run at some playing time.

In the fall of 2006, Kight was in a battle for first base, mainly with veteran senior C.J. Ketchum, junior Peyton Farr, and newcomer Andrew Clark. Kight understands the situation. There's a lot of talent there, but that includes himself as well.

His hope and drive is to get on the field, and he's confident that if it's not at first base, then he will indeed help the Rebels out on the field somewhere in 2007 – not from the stands or the dugout but from the playing field.

"It was good for me," the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Kight said of his redshirt year. "I got a lot better. I think it helped me in the long run. If you get better, then it's the best thing. You want to do whatever it takes to improve. I want to continue to swing it real well. Coach said that if I swing the bat well, he can find a spot for me. So I have to go out and show them."

Kight showed them in the fall, finishing with a batting average of .350 with four RBI and five doubles. His batting average in the fall trailed only sophomore Evan Button's .379, freshman Jordan Henry's .360, and sophomore Cody Overbeck's .354. He especially had a strong finish to fall ball.

"I had a really good end to the fall," said Kight, of Magee. "I changed up a few things with my swing and hit the ball well. I opened up my stance and started seeing the ball better. That helped me."

Last school year Kight practiced each day with the Rebs but couldn't travel or play in the games. He also worked hard in the strength and conditioning department to improve in those areas. He's had a lot of time in a year and a half in Oxford to do so.

He says he's a stronger, faster, more fit player than ever.

"I've toned up a lot. My body's changed a lot since I got here," said the Louisville Slugger High School All-American who played at Simpson Academy, where he helped his team win back to back MPSA Class 2A state championships. "I weigh less but I've gotten a lot stronger. I weighed about 220 when I got here and now it's about 195. So I've lost about 25 pounds. I feel a lot better and move a lot better. They (coaches) wanted me to get in better shape. I don't know if they wanted me to lose that much weight, but I feel like it's helped me and hasn't hurt my power."

Kight's got a lot of talented company as teammates. The squad is loaded with guys who can play the game and a lot of them have game experience.

Kight wears a pretty famous number for a Rebel – 18, which makes him the first player since three-time All-American Stephen Head to don that particular legendary Ole Miss number. He knows whatever number he wears on his back that he's got a chance to contribute if he takes care of business and gives it his best day in and day out.

"After being redshirted last year, it was good to get out there and compete and do well," he said of the fall. "I look forward to having a chance to play this spring."

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