Barlow evaluates college choices

Kaleb Barlow's numbers as a junior at Jackson Prep last spring were impressive. But given a couple of more facts made them even more impressive, according to his head coach.

"We asked him to hit in the three hole, and the kid behind him (Luke Maddox) batted .547 with 76 RBI," said Chuck Box, who led Prep to its third straight state title in baseball. "What Kaleb did and how he handled it was even more impressive. He took his walks and was smart enough to do well in that role. That tells you something about him as a player and a person."

The 6-foot, 195-pound infielder, named a Louisville Slugger All-American, put up some strong numbers himself. He batted .504 with 54 RBI and a team-high 17 home runs. He also had three triples and 11 doubles.

Barlow, who will be a senior this fall at Prep, said Ole Miss is one of several schools in the running for his academic and athletic future.

"I'm taking a look at all my options, looking at everything," said the shortstop/third baseman who throws right and bats right. "Ole Miss is definitely in the mix."

So are some others in the area, like Mississippi State, Southern Mississippi, and LSU.

"I want to go somewhere I can play," said Barlow, mentioning he is seeing, as most recruits do, who is leaving and who will return to each school at his positions. "Also important is how I feel about going to school there. That's something I am looking at as well."

Barlow has visited the Ole Miss campus and attended games. He said his family has followed Ole Miss sports. He said he likely won't make a quick decision.

"I would say I will probably make a later decision," he said. "Maybe after school has started (for the fall semester)."

Box said Barlow has a lot of tools to play at the next level.

"He's got a great bat. He's humble. He's a hard worker and has an amazing baseball IQ," Box said. "He's got a lot of upside. He's taught me a lot.

"He's very solid defensively," Box continued. "He's got good feet and plays through the ball well. He was at third for us last year (2008) and moved to short and it was seamless. He can also play second well. He could be a power-type second baseman, but he plays all three positions well."

Box said Barlow has had a lot of big hits for his team, but one defensive play is still talked about.

"It was the state championship game against Pillow," he said. "We led 1-0 in the sixth. Kaleb was playing shortstop. Their leadoff guy hit a ball deep and over behind third. He ran over to get it and from over by the fence made a phenomenal throw all the way across to get him out. We ended up winning 2-0, and that was a big play to keep them from getting something started that inning."

And a play, like many others for Barlow, that has drawn the attention of college recruiters in Mississippi and beyond.

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