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Ole Miss Baseball 2023 Preview: Can any freshman step up right away?

In 2022, freshman Hunter Elliott had a massive impact

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Oklahoma vs Ole Miss Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The Ole Miss baseball title defense is set to kick off in only one more week. Goosebumps, folks.

The Cup has already looked at who is returning and the transfers, but are there any freshman poised to have a big year like Hunter Elliott did?

According to Perfect Game, Ole Miss had the No. 2 recruiting class in 2022. The Rebels did see its top two recruits go in the MLB Draft, but there is still plenty of talent coming into Oxford.

RHP Jordan Vera leads the way as a 2021 Perfect Game All American and the highest ranked recruit stepping on campus this spring. Fun Fact about Jordan, his uncle is the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Anyways, Vera is not a huge strikeout guy, only 75 in 150 innings pitched in 2021, but if he can replicate his 1.50 ERA, we are in business.

RHP JT Quinn is 6’6” and currently tops out around 90 mph. Fun fact about JT, his dad played at Mississippi State. College weight rooms matter. LHP Cody Reed was set to join Ole Miss after 2 seasons at Northwest Community College. Upon graduating from Horn Lake High School, Reed was topping out around 87 mph. During his sophomore campaign, Reed had bulked up and was hitting 97 with ease, leading to his entry into the MLB Draft rather than a trip to Oxford. All that to say, Quinn will likely improve on that mph with all that length.

RHP Grayson Saunier tumbled down the draft boards this past summer and lucky for the Rebels that he did. Fun fact about Grayson, I taught him Pre-Calculus his senior year at Collierville High School.. so maybe that’s a fun fact about me. Saunier is a special talent, not only can he sling it, but the kid can flat out rake too. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact he has in year one.

SS Mason Morris was the #1 Shortstop prospect and #5 overall prospect in Mississippi according to Perfect Game. The 6-5 Tupelo High School product will use his time to prepare for next season, taking over for Jacob Gonzalez. He has a cannon for a right shoulder, 93 pitching velo and 91 infield velo, that will only get stronger.

1B Will Furniss was a high school All-American and Rawlings Gold Glove winner. Fun fact about Will, his dad played at LSU and is in the College Baseball Hall of Fame. The 6-4 lefty will likely sit behind transfer Anthony Calarco, but just for one season.

OF Nathan Fink is another big body with a big arm. The 6-4 outfielder has an outfield velo of 94+. As depleted as the outfield depth is, he will have a chance to compete for a spot, but due to his average speed, he may be a year or two away.

3B Judd Utermark continues the theme of big dudes coming in. The 6-5 corner infielder is a four time state champion in North Carolina and was the Charlotte Player of the Year in 2022. He is another future piece as the hot corner will go to transfer Ethan Lege.

RHP Brady Disbro comes from California and sit around 93 mph on his fastball. RHP Sam Tookoian also joins the team from California as 6-5 two sport athlete. Fun fact about Sam is that his first name is actually Sarkis.

RHP Cole Ketchum is a West Point, MS product via Heritage Academy where he posted 88 strikeouts in 58 innings of work in 2022 and won a state title in 2019. RHP Patrick Galle had 91 strikeouts in 59 innings for Biloxi last season. Both Mississippi products will have prove they can hang against elite competition.

And there you have it. The final group of guys ready to toe the line and chase a second consecutive National Title. The season gets underway next Friday February 17th as the Rebs host Delaware for a 3 game weekend set.