Incoming shortstop hopes to man the middle

The shortstop position could be the premier fall battle on the baseball diamond with a trio of infielders fighting for the starting nod. JUCO transfer Sean Stuyverson has Division I experience and superb defensive skills that could land him the job come opening day.

Stuyverson spent his freshman season at Florida State before transferring to Okaloosa Walton Community College. Playing for the Seminoles was the Tallahassee native's dream out of high school, but the situation didn't mesh as well as expected. Switching colleges was the result, and Ole Miss won the recruiting competition over offers from LSU and Alabama.

As a freshman, Stuyverson appeared in 16 games for Florida State, hitting just .167. However, he committed just one error.

Stuyverson brings quality bat control at the plate and above average range in the field. Coming out of North Florida Christian High School, Stuyverson was one of the top 100 national prospects by Baseball America, and was named to both the All-State and TPX All-American teams.

Chase Parham of The Ole Miss Spirit recently talked to Stuyverson about his past as well as his future as a Rebel.

On his summer and choosing against playing summer ball:

"I am back in Tallahassee, just working out and working on my speed. I'm not playing wood-bat league or anything. I want to spend the summer getting better. My junior college had a full fall season so I have been playing the entire last year. I spent last summer in the Coastal Plains League so I haven't had a break. I wanted to come back home and work on getting faster and stronger. It's nice to get time off from playing games all day."

On what he is doing to get better:

"Quickness, speed and strength are the things that I am working on, really it is everything. I have enough speed to play, but it never hurts to get stronger and improve. I'm working on speed as far as running bases and playing defense and throwing. No one is handed a position so I have to stay sharp and get better."

On his sophomore season at OWCC:

"I hit .280 and had a decent year offensively. I was really hot at the start of the year and finished with 15 doubles. Also, a really good year in the field. I'm not a big power hitter. I was a two-hole hitter in junior college. Moving runners and bunting are big parts of my offensive game. I think I can be counted on for quality at-bats."

On his recruitment and visiting Ole Miss:

"It's funny because when I left Florida State, Ole Miss was one of the schools that I really wanted to play at, and then Coach Rob was the first person to contact me when I got to junior college. It is really cool how it worked out. I visited and met the team and coaches before committing during the Vanderbilt football weekend. The visit was better than expected. It is a great program, and something to be excited about. I went to orientation in Oxford a couple weeks ago with my parents, and they absolutely loved it. They couldn't be more happy and excited."

On replacing an All-American and the success of both Cozart and Tolbert:

"I was being recruited in the fall and Coach Rob called me and said that Cozart would probably be gone so I have the chance to step in and be that guy. That is big and a good opportunity. It is great motivation and an excellent chance to step in, play and help the team win. Ole Miss' success with shortstops is impressive. Several talented guys have come out of there, and it is always a goal to play professional baseball. Playing time is important because I'm close to being draft eligible and no one wants to transfer and sit. I have to produce, but the spot is open and is there if I play well."

On coming from a major program but being away from home:

"Location was a small factor in where I went, but it wasn't that important. Ole Miss is kind of far from home, and I have been in Tallahassee all my life, but it's close enough for my family to visit. Probably some adjustment from what I am used to. I've definitely been around big time college baseball before. It was an adjustment coming out of high school as in seeing the large amount of fans and facing tough competition. But now, experience in that venue has to help, and I am prepared for the pressure that comes with it. More than anything, I just want to suit up and get started."

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