April 11, 2007
AUBURN, Ala. -
The Auburn baseball team's incoming class for the 2008 season grew by five on Wednesday as the Tigers announced the signings of in-state high school players Justin Hargett (Hartselle/Hartselle HS), Rus Harper (Birmingham/Oak Mountain HS), Justin Jones (Millbrook/Stanhope Elmore HS), Cory Luckie (Prattville/Prattville HS) and Chez McCann (Deatsville/Edgewood Academy) to National Letters of Intent.
"We are extremely excited to have these young men join our program for next year," Auburn Head Coach Tom Slater said. "All five of these young men attended our camp here and that gave us a chance to get to know each of them on a personal level and see how they interact with other players and coaches. I am very impressed with the character and maturity that they have and am excited to have them sign to play at Auburn."
Hargett, who signed with the Tigers in the latter stage of the fall signing period, is a 5-10, 170 lbs. right handed pitcher/infielder at Hartselle High School where he plays for William Booth. A four-year letterman, he led the team in hits (63), doubles (16), walks (37), runs (69) and stolen bases (24) in 2006 while hitting .362 and driving in 47, both second on the team as the team advanced to the state semi-finals for the second time in his first three years. An All-Area MVP and All-State Honorable Mention in 2006, he also was an All-Area and All-State Honorable Mention in 2005. He is the son of Greg and Kim Hargett.
"Justin comes to us from a very strong Hartselle program where he is an outstanding closer for their program and is also athletic enough to play in the infield for them when he is not pitching," Slater said. "We like his arm strength and the movement we have seen from him with his fastball. We also like the fact that he is athletic enough to be a potential two-way player for us in the future."
Harper is a 6-1, 170 lbs. left handed pitcher for Tommy Youngblood at Oak Mountain High School. A 2006 Birmingham News First Team All-Metro 6A, he went 7-1 as a junior with a 1.73 ERA, striking out 63 in 48 innings and was also named to a Birmingham News All-State 6A Honorable Mention and to the 2006 All Over the Mountain Team. So far this year he has put together a 1.21 ERA in 46 innings, has struck out 68 while issuing just 18 walks and has thrown four complete games and two shutouts. He is the son of Cy and Jamea Harper.
"Rus has impressed us in camp and in the games we saw him pitch this spring for former Auburn great Tommy Youngblood at Oak Mountain," Slater said. "He is a quality left handed pitcher with a good arm and we think he has a tremendous up-side for us in the future."
Jones is a 6-0, 170 lbs. outfielder and a five-year letterman at Stanhope Elmore High School, beginning his high school career as an eighth grader where he played his first four years for Hank Furlow and now plays for Scott Johnson. As a junior he hit at a .402 clip with 15 doubles and three home runs, driving in 40 and stealing 19 bases. A starter on the 2006 5A State Championship team, he was chosen for the 2006 Alabama All-Star Team, was a 2006 All-State Honorable Mention and named to the Montgomery Advertiser All-Metro Team. He is the son of Huie and Emily Jones.
"Justin is another player in a long line of good players that have come to us from the Stanhope Elmore program (Ryan Jenkins, Joseph Sanders) and it is a school that has produced a number of hard-nosed, hard-playing players and Justin certainly fits that mold," Slater said. "He is very athletic and he can really run and we think he will fit right in our outfield plans next year."
Luckie is a 5-10, 175 lbs. left handed pitcher for Tommy Goodson at Prattville High School. Through 29 games this season he has an 8-0 record with a 1.17 ERA, which follows his junior campaign in which he went 3-0 with a 0.80 ERA in limited action due to an injury suffered early in the season. An Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Top 100 Troy Showcase participant, he also played in the 2006 East-West All-Star Game at UAB. A Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete Regional Scholarship winner, he is Prattville's Gold Crown Award winner for carrying a 4.0 GPA throughout high school. He is the son of Craig and Cathy Luckie.
"I am very excited that Cory is going to be an Auburn Tiger. He can really pitch. He spins the breaking ball really well," Slater said. "We have seen him do well at our camps and we have seen him do well for his high school. He is a winning player and a great student from a great family."
McCann is a 5-10, 165 lbs. shortstop at Edgewood Academy where he plays for Bobby Carr. An All-State and All-Metro selection for the past three years, he was the AISA All-State Player of the Year in 2006 aver hitting .492 with a .754 slugging percentage and 41 stolen bases. This year he is hitting .421 with three home runs and has already stolen 28 bases. Listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students for the past three years, he carries a 3.67 GPA and will be getting an advanced diploma. He is the son of Sharon Shafer.
"Chez really impressed us with his athleticism and overall ability to play the game of baseball," Slater said. "He is a high-energy player who has shown us what he can do in camp and at Edgewood with his ability to play a lot of different positions on the field."
These five join previously announced signees Brian Fletcher (Fayetteville, Ga.), Wes Gilmer (Pinson), Bradley Hendrix (Birmingham), Jon Luke Jacobs (Gainestown), DJ Jones (Gulf Shores), Hunter Morris (Huntsville), Trent Mummey (Pinson) and Kevin Patterson (Birmingham).