Rising Seniors

Something about the commitments Ole Miss baseball will sign this November has an old, familiar ring to it. Like the school year 2001-02.

That fall and spring period, Ole Miss signed several talented high school players like Stephen Head, Brian Pettway, Mark Holliman, Anthony Cupps and Eric Fowler, to name a few, who came in the next fall as freshmen.

Those guys, along with former high school players already on campus like Seth Smith, Matt Tolbert and Barry Gunther, would become a large part of the core of players in the Rebels' first run to host a Regional in 2004 and Super Regionals also at home in '05 and '06.

Currently Ole Miss has 10 commitments for the November signing period, all of them high school players. None of them are from junior colleges.

Certainly there hasn't been a break in the success for the Rebel program since things got rolling nearly a decade ago. But when these players arrive a year from now - and with some of them highly draftable next June better make that "if" they arrive - things shape up a lot like they did back then. They're hoping similar success will follow.

The class appears to be as strong as any of the past ones with several high-profile players, like RHP Casey Mulholland, RHP Bobby Wahl, power-hitter/3B Preston Overbey, RHP Austin Hartzog, and catcher Will Allen, among them. Also home run threat/athlete Jordan Poole, infielder Gabe Woods, athlete/hitter Jimel Judon, RHP/SS Casey Greene, OF/speedster Ryan Bolden are committed.

The talent search continues, and more players could be added to the class. But it is a talented group the Rebel coaching staff has put together to sign in November. If all or even most are here next mid-August, more special moments should be in the Rebel baseball program's future.

Several uncommitted high school pitchers are still out there for the November signing period where mutual interest seems likely - RHP Mike Mayers of Ohio, RHP Jacques DuGruy of Dallas by way of New Orleans, and LHP Nathan Foriest of Nashville.

Again, the Rebels are looking at high school players almost totally this time around to keep things moving positively into the future. The past proved that was a good route to go.

Other Rebel baseball notes:

South Panola's David Renfroe has until Aug. 17 to sign with the Boston Red Sox organization. Otherwise the third-rounder, drafted in June, would become an Ole Miss student and join the baseball team for the next three years, at least.

Renfroe has said it might be a final hour decision as to whether he is a Red Sox or a Rebel. Growing up an Ole Miss fan and his dad, Laddie, having played at Ole Miss, obviously he'll always be a Rebel. The question for Ole Miss continues to be will he go to college or go pro this month? Stay tuned.

Sophomore RHP Michael Park has left the team and transferred to a school to be determined so he will have a chance to pitch more. Last spring for the Rebels, the Memphis right-hander pitched seven innings in five appearances.

JUCO catcher Micah Reaves of Bevill (Ala.) State could be on the squad in the fall, giving the Rebels four catchers this upcoming season. We should know soon. Taylor Hightower, Miles Hamblin, and Hooper Paty are already on the roster at catcher.

We'll take a closer look at the incoming Rebel baseball class set to arrive on campus this month in the days and weeks ahead leading up to fall ball in September.


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