Hoekel Hopes To Help

Weston Hoekel looked instate for college, then he chose out of state. The right-handed pitcher committed to Ole Miss last week and will sign this month.

He'll arrive on campus this summer and give the Rebels another strong arm for 2011 and beyond.

"I'm happy about my decision," said the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder from Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Fla. "I'm real excited to be going to Ole Miss."

He'd narrowed it down to a couple of Division I programs in his homestate – the University of Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University. But in the end it was Ole Miss, where he had attended holiday camp this year and also for a recent weekend series, that won out.

"I like the atmosphere and the facilities," Hoekel said. "My mom and I visited recently. I'd taken the academic tour (on his camp visit), and this time was more a tour of the sports side. I liked everything I saw up there."

The Rebels must also like what they see in Hoekel. He throws a fast ball 92-94 mph and also has a curve ball and a changeup in his arsenal. He just turned 18 on March 10, and he says he is already focused on how to become a better pitcher as he heads toward college later this year.

"I'm working out to get in better shape," he said. "I'm working to become a stronger player and improve all my pitches."

Hoekel plans to play this summer for the prestigious East Cobb Braves in the Atlanta area. Last summer he played for an Orlando team. Hoekel is also a third baseman, in addition to his pitching duties.

"I've played third base this season when I'm not pitching, and I normally don't play third base the day before I pitch," said Hoekel, who also bats right.

Hoekel has been named to several all-star teams and received honors through the years such as All-City in Jacksonville and All-First Coast.

Bishop Kenny has historically produced a number of Division I players. This year's signees, in addition to Hoekel, include outfielder Ben Gamel to Florida State and left-handed pitcher Jason Jabour to Tulane.

The Rebels are likely to lose several pitchers from their staff before next year. Gone are seniors Aaron Barrett and Rory McKean, and draftable pitchers include Drew Pomeranz, Eric Callender, David Goforth, Trent Rothlin, and Matt Tracy.

Ole Miss has inked several pitchers already, and coaches are constantly on the lookout for other outstanding arms. Hoekel fit that bill.

"I want to be able to come in and help," Hoekel said. "I'm looking forward to playing at Ole Miss."

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