Georgia baseball signs nine for 2018 season
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Georgia baseball signs nine for 2018 season

UGA Baseball
Photo: John Paul Van Wert/UGA

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin announced Tuesday that nine student-athletes have signed with UGA. They will join the Bulldog baseball program for the 2018 season.

All nine newcomers will arrive from the high school ranks and are from the Peach State.

“We are very excited to welcome the latest Bulldogs to the University of Georgia,” Stricklin said. “Coach (Scott) Daeley and Coach (Fred) Corral have put in a lot of work to put this class together, and we feel it helps balance our lineup and adds to our pitching depth.”

Here’s a look at the newest Bulldogs:

Emerson Hancock (RHP, 6-4, 175, R-R, Cairo, Ga., Cairo HS)

Attending Cairo where he plays for Ron Best…Posted a team-best 11-1 record, 1.09 ERA, 98 strikeouts and 15 walks in 64 innings for the Syrupmakers as a junior…Led team to a 23-6 mark, the best in school history…Named 2016 Region1-4A Player of the Year, All-Area Player of the Year, All-State Honorable Mention and team’s Golden Glove Award…Also a Top 10 Student…Played summer baseball with Game On Stealth and coach Derrick Simon…Son of Don and Mona Hancock.

“I’ve been a Georgia fan my whole life, and Athens feels like home,” says Hancock.

Coach Stricklin says:

“Emerson is a pitcher that we have watched develop over the past two years. He has always had great command but the velocity wasn’t there this time last year. He worked extremely hard last winter and really made a jump going into the summer. His velocity has gotten into the low 90’s, and he can really pitch. He has a very good curveball and a great feel for a change up. He still has a lot of room to get stronger and will only get better.”

Ivan Johnson (SS, 6-0, 188, S-R, Atlanta, Ga., Kennesaw Mountain HS)

Attending Kennesaw Mountain where he plays for George Hansen…Batted .364 with six home runs, 18 RBI and 18 stolen bases for the Mustangs as a junior…Named team MVP and All-Region in 2016 as team went 14-14…Outstanding student…Plays summer baseball with Team Elite Prime and won 18U BCS title…Son of Vincent Johnson and Marcelle Fabien-Johnson.

“The coaches at UGA made me feel like family,” says Johnson. “I want to be a part of making UGA baseball a national powerhouse again.”

Coach Stricklin says:

“Ivan is a very versatile player that we have been recruiting for nearly three years. He has bat speed from both sides of the plate and great instincts on the bases and in the field. He projects as a top of the order type of hitter that can also be a run producer. Ivan has played at a very high level with the best competition in the country and has shown that he will be an impact player at the college level.”

Steven Minter (INF, 6-2, 175, R-R, Powder Springs, Ga., Hillgrove HS)

Attending Hillgrove where he plays for Coach David Richardson as they won the Region 4-AAAAAA championship in 2016, going 15-13…As a junior for the Hawks, collected a team-best 12 doubles, 22 runs scored and 12 stolen bases while batting .318 with 14 RBI…Earned 1st Team All-Region honors and Honorable Mention All Cobb County by the Marietta Daily Journal… Member of Junior Team Georgia…Son of Mark and Susan Minter.

“I chose Georgia because the program has a bright future, and it was the right fit for me,” says Minter.

Coach Stricklin says:

“Steven impressed us very early on with how he plays the game. He can play just about anywhere on the field and has a high baseball IQ. His arm strength and bat speed really stand out. The ball just jumps out of his hand when he throws and off his bat when he swings.”

Chaney Rogers (1B/OF/LHP, 6-1, 199, L-L, Ringgold, Ga., Gordon Lee HS)

Attending Gordon Lee where he plays for Mike Dunfee…Batted .386 with three home runs, 17 RBI and 11 stolen bases plus posted a 1.57 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 26.2 innings as a junior…Helped the Trojans go 19-9 and claimed the region title…Named All-Region as a sophomore and junior and was Freshman of the Year…Plays summer baseball with the Georgia Jackets…Son of Tim Rogers and Mitzi Bailey.

“It has always been a dream of mine to attend UGA, and the baseball program is the best fit for me,” says Rogers.

Coach Stricklin says:

“Chaney is a legitimate two-way player that will make an impact with his bat and his arm. He can really hit from the left side and will hit for average and for power. He is also a really good athlete that is a plus defender at first base. He can really run and has good instincts, which will allow him to play the outfield as well. On the mound, he pitches in the upper 80’s and really competes.”

C.J. Smith (LHP/OF, 6-1, 175, L-L, Royston, Ga., Westminster Christian Academy)

Attending Westminster Christian Academy where he plays for Nate Donatelli…Posted a 6-2 record, 0.63 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched as a junior plus batted .465 with five home runs, 36 RBI and 16 stolen bases…Helped Lions to a state runner-up finish, going 15-4 overall and 8-0 to win a region title…Earned All-State and All-Region honors…Outstanding student with near-perfect GPA…Son of William and Alison Smith.

“I’ve always dreamed of being a Bulldog, and the coaching staff cemented my decision,” says Smith.

Coach Stricklin says:

“CJ is another two-way player that will make an impact in the field and on the mound. We first started recruiting CJ as a pitcher. He has great command of three pitches and really competes with a fastball that will sit in the upper 80’s. He holds runners and fields his position about as well as anyone you will see. As we watched him more and more, we realized that he can be a hitter at the college level as well. He is a great athlete that has a lot of physical tools.”

Cole Tate (INF, 6-2, 185, R-R, Bishop, Ga., Oconee HS)

Attending Oconee County where he plays for Tom Gooch…Batted .434 with one home run, 26 runs scored, 13 RBI and a .560 on-base percentage in earning preseason and postseason All-State honors…Also a two-time All Region selection and set the school record for fielding percentage at .967…Part of Warriors squad that went 13-14 in 2016 seeing action as starting second baseman and pitcher…Also lettered in football and basketball…Played summer baseball with Team Elite Prime and won BCS Championship and finished second out of 88 teams at the WWBA World Championship…Son of Ray and Melanie Tate.

“It has always been a dream of mine to play baseball for UGA,” says Tate.

Coach Stricklin says:

“Cole is a very versatile player that can play multiple positions. He is an extremely hard worker and gets better every time we see him. He has a lot of baseball tools that really project well. He can run, has a plus arm and has developing power. Cole is a really good baseball player that will only get better as he continues to get stronger.”

Connor Tate (INF, 6-3, 196, R-R, Bishop, Ga., Oconee HS)

Attending Oconee County where he plays for Tom Gooch…Batted .414 with five home runs, 27 runs scored and 21 RBI in earning preseason and postseason All-State honors…Also a two-time All Region selection and recipient of the Golden Glove Award…Part of Warriors squad that went 13-14 in 2016 seeing action as a starting shortstop, third baseman and had four saves on the mound…Also lettered in football and basketball…Played summer baseball with Team Elite Prime and won BCS Championship and finished second out of 88 teams at the WWBA World Championship…Son of Ray and Melanie Tate.

“I have always dreamed of playing for the University of Georgia,” says Tate.

Coach Stricklin says:

“Connor is a great athlete that makes difficult things look easy at times. He is very natural as an infielder with great athleticism and arm strength. He is very strong and can hit for power. Connor, and his twin brother Cole, have pushed each other their entire lives and they work really well together. We are really looking forward to watching Connor develop over the next few years.”

Drew Waters (OF, 6-2, 190, S-R, Woodstock, Ga., Etowah HS)

Attending Etowah where he plays for Greg Robinson… Named a 2016 Under Armour All-American, a Perfect Game All-American and selected to the 2016 Under Armour All-American game at Wrigley Field…Ranked No. 8 among Perfect Game Class of 2017 High School National Top 10 recruits…Batted .470 with one home run, 14 RBI and 18 stolen bases as a junior…Helped Eagles go 18-7…Played summer baseball with 643 DP Cougars and was 2016 Player of the Year…Helped squad win the Super 25 title along with the 17u and 18u Evoshield Champions and World Wood bat Qualifiers title…Named an Academic Scholar and Lamp of Knowledge…Has two older siblings who were student-athletes and earned degrees from UGA (Zach-baseball, Caroline-soccer)…Son of Mitch and Lisa Waters.

“I wanted to be part of a team with history, and UGA has had tremendous success,” says Waters.

Coach Stricklin says:

“Drew is one of the best athletes in the entire 2017 class. He can really run, has a plus arm and hits for average and power from both sides of the plate. He is very strong and has plenty of room to continue to get stronger. Drew has an extremely bright future.”

Ryan Webb (LHP, 6-1, 185, L-L, Roswell, Ga., Pope HS)

Attending Pope where he plays for Jeff Rowland…Posted a 9-1 record, 1.92 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 54.2 innings as a junior…Helped Greyhounds go 28-6 and advanced the to state finals and won the region title…Named Co-Team Pitcher of the Year….Played summer baseball with the Evoshield Canes National 17U squad…Son of Mike and Chrstie Webb.

“UGA was always my favorite school growing up, and it’s a dream come true to call myself a Dawg,” says Webb.

Coach Stricklin says:

“Ryan can really pitch. He has a very loose arm action and his fastball has a lot of life. He has a great breaking ball that will be a strikeout pitch for him at the college level. He is also a very good athlete that just has a great feel for what he is doing on the mound.”

Georgia Baseball Signing Class For 2018 Season

Emerson Hancock (RHP, 6-4, 175, R-R, Cairo, Ga., Cairo HS)

Ivan Johnson (SS, 6-0, 188, S-R, Atlanta, Ga., Kennesaw Mountain HS)

Steven Minter (INF, 6-2, 175, R-R, Powder Springs, Ga., Hillgrove HS)

Chaney Rogers (1B/OF/LHP, 6-1, 199, L-L, Ringgold, Ga., Gordon Lee HS)

C.J. Smith (LHP/OF, 6-1, 175, L-L, Royston, Ga., Westminster Christian Academy)

Cole Tate (INF, 6-2, 185, R-R, Bishop, Ga., Oconee HS)

Connor Tate (INF, 6-3, 196, R-R, Bishop, Ga., Oconee HS)

Drew Waters (OF, 6-2, 190, S-R, Woodstock, Ga., Etowah HS)

Ryan Webb (LHP, 6-1, 185, L-L, Roswell, Ga., Pope HS)

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