Choosing Baseball and Ole Miss

The Overbeys have always considered themselves a baseball family. So it's no real shocker that Jake, a rising high school senior football star, chose to play baseball at Ole Miss.

The shortstop is still playing football. Quarterback, as a matter of fact, for University School of Jackson. Jackson, Tennessee, that is.

He is all set to lead his high school football team to another successful season this fall. In November he will sign on the dotted line to play baseball for the Rebels. Then he will turn his athletic attention solely to baseball and his senior season on the diamond.

That Jake's older brother, Preston, is arriving at Ole Miss later this month to play baseball for the Rebels only adds to the story. Preston, drafted in the 42nd round by Tampa Bay in June, is a leading candidate for the Rebs' third base spot this season.

It's hard to measure how much of a role Preston already heading to Oxford played in Jake's decision to do the same. He admits he's his own man, and he looked at things that way as he got ready to commit recently.

"My visit there went so well," said the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Jake of his recent visit to campus, a place he'd been before and played baseball before. "I really like all the coaches. I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. I didn't want to wait."

So he committed.

"I just love Ole Miss and how everything is there," said Jake, who also plays some second base.

But he admits the fact that Preston will be here is special for them both and for their family.

"That just makes it even better," he said of a situation which could remind Ole Miss fans of Justin and Jordan Henry, although the Vicksburg natives only played one season together in Oxford.

Jake chose baseball over football for college

Jake admits that one aspect of his recruitment he did appreciate was that the Rebel coaches didn't link the two together. Jake was his own man in their eyes as well.

"They made me feel they wanted me for me, and not because of my brother," Jake said.

Preston Overbey is 6-3, 210 and more known for his power. He's big and strong and brings what you'd think a player his size and strength would to the program.

Jake Overbey is smaller, more mobile, more of a strategist. In some ways the word finesse might be appropriate.

Both have tremendous leadership quailites, and according to Jake, "We just want to win. We love to win. That's what it's all about."

Winning on the football field and the baseball field have been a big part of Jake's life. He was a finalist for Tennessee's Mr. Football in his school's classification as a sophomore. After leading the Bruins to the state finals last season, he won the title of Mr. Football.

With so many football credentials on his resume' along with throwing 73 touchdown passes the past two seasons, many felt football was Jake's route to college.

"I thought about (football) a lot earlier (in his high school career)," Jake said. "I just started focusing, especially this summer, on baseball more."

That Jake excelled at football and Preston took the lead in baseball was no surprise. It even appeared to be in the cards, so to speak, for the sons of Mike and Regina Overbey. Through no planning, according to Mike, Preston left the hospital days after his birth in a baseball outfit. Just fourteen months later, Jake headed home from the hospital in clothing adorned with footballs.

Preston arrives at UM this month

Jake, who will be 18 on Nov. 13, played for Dulin's Dodgers out of Memphis this summer. So did Preston, who will turn 19 on Sept. 11. One of their tournaments in June was played at Swayze Field in Oxford.

In a game earlier this year, with Ole Miss assistant Carl Lafferty in attendance, Jake was batting second in the lineup and Preston third. They stepped up to the plate and proceeded to hit back to back home runs.

Jake batted .378 as a junior in high school for USJ. He hit five home runs, had four doubles and a triple, and drove in 31 runs. He crossed the plate 56 times himself, getting aboard 20 times with walks as well as 48 hits in 158 at-bats.

But now it's football season again, and Jake is already focused on leading his troops to great heights this fall.

"We want to win a state championship this time," he said.

After that, he wants to improve his baseball skills heading to Oxford.

Preston batted .482 with 16 homers at USJ as a senior this past spring, along with 13 doubles and 39 RBI.

"It's going to be weird not playing on the same team as Preston," Jake said of his high school senior campaign.

A year from now, however, things will be back to normal for the Overbeys. Jake's commitment to the Rebels sealed that just last week.

"I like everything about Ole Miss," Jake said. "I knew it was the right thing to do."

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