Shortstop excited about position competition

Newcomer Sean Stuyverson fulfilled his childhood dream of playing baseball at Florida State out of high school, but the hometown college didn't mesh with the shortstop. Now, he is a Rebel and is ready to see that other dream come true – getting to Omaha.

Stuyverson has experienced big time baseball before and understands the amount of work that is necessary at that level. With the transition relatively minimal, the Okaloosa-Walton Community College transfer is concentrating on getting better and winning the three-way battle to replace Zack Cozart.

"I've been D-1 before, so I am a little more comfortable I think," Stuyverson said. "With a past at Florida State, I kind of know what to expect and what is expected, but it is also a different place. It is going great so far, and I love the energy of everyone. It feels good."

After experiencing the ACC as a freshman, Stuyverson narrowed his college choices to three SEC schools before choosing Ole Miss. Offers were handed out by Alabama and LSU, but he chose Oxford. A place where he will have to beat out Evan Button and Tim Ferguson for playing time.

The task isn't simple, but the existing talent at Ole Miss was a positive thing for Stuyverson. It meant there is talent to win and win big.

"Absolutely, it played a big factor during my recruitment," Stuyverson said. "There are a lot of great athletes and will be tough to start, but that is why I came. Great athletes mean that there is a great opportunity to win. It is going to be really fun. I have definitely sized up the position, and it is a lot of great competition."

The competition begins Friday with the start of fall camp and also Scout Day. For the first time, Ole Miss will have 45 days to get in 33 official practices. The extended fall period is in place due to the uniform start date being implemented this upcoming spring. All teams must begin their season on the same day.

"I think it (longer fall camp) will be an advantage, especially for the hitters," Stuyverson said. "We can get more at-bats and see a lot more pitching. I'm excited about it. You get a good amount of time to win a spot and show skills that can help the club.

"I am looking to get a lot of at-bats and really improve my hitting. Getting better overall is important. There isn't anything that I can stop working on to get better."

Stuyverson hit .280 with 15 doubles last year in JUCO. That was an improvement from Florida State, where he batted only .167 in 16 games. Defensively, Stuyverson committed one error in 15 chances as a Seminole.

Because junior colleges play fall seasons as well as spring competition, Stuyverson decided against playing baseball this summer. Instead, he worked out at home in effort to improve his speed and strength.

"I worked hard all summer on getting faster and stronger through conditioning and weight lifting. I have improved my speed, so that was good for me. Strength and speed improve everything that I do as a shortstop."

The break from competition was a good thing, but an entire summer without baseball was a little too long for the transfer.

"It went well, although later in the summer, I was getting antsy to get back to baseball. It will feel good to get back on the field, but it was good to get a break considering I played last summer in the Coastal Plain League and a full JUCO season."

And while the season doesn't start until February, Stuyverson is already attempting to be in top form. Playing shortstop at Ole Miss is a cherished thing, and he is one of three that has the position as the top priority.

The process of picking a winner begins Friday.

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