George Jenkins, McKeel baseball players sign Division I scholarships
LAKELAND — The George Jenkins baseball program is becoming a feeder program to major Division I programs.
The Eagles had four players sign national letters of intent on Thursday.
Jenkins senior right-fielder Brady Allen signed with SEC power and South Carolina. He hit .389 with 5 home runs and 24 RBI in 2017 and played a solid right field. He was also Direct Gates’s 2016 Hitter of the Year as a sophomore.
On the mound he went 5-0 while crafting a sparkling 0.83 ERA and 67 strikeouts in just 42.1 innings.
“He is the ultimate high school baseball player and one of the best I have ever been around,” Jenkins head coach Chad Crosby said. “He works tirelessly on the field, off the field and in the weight room. His baseball IQ is off the charts. South Carolina wants him to play the outfield and then possibly come in as a closer. It is hard not to have a kid like that on the hill but he is definitely going to play the outfield.”
Infielder Brandon Howlett signed with Florida State University and is expected to remain at third base once he gets to Tallahassee. He hit .286 with five home runs and 17 RBI. Howlett and Allen were both Perfect Game All-Americans.
“Brandon is one of the few talents ever to come out of Polk County and have major league home run power.
"He is a big-time prospect,” Crosby said. “He just belongs on a baseball field.”
Starting pitcher Brandt Sundean signed with Florida Gulf Coast after posting an 8-2 record with a 2.64 ERA and 53 strikeouts through 47.2 innings of work.
”He has pitched in all of our big games and has been the core of our staff,” Crosby said. “He is one of the kids who is still reaching his potential. He has a lot more left in the tank.”
Second baseman Matty Warren signed with Florida Southern. He hit .306 with 13 RBI while helping the Eagles reach the Class 8A regional finals.
“Matty is a prime example of the more you work and the more effort you put in, great things do happen,” Crosby said. “He lives it out on the field every day. He is driven to succeed.”
Woodring signs with Florida Gulf Coast
LAKELAND – McKeel Academy senior Cody Woodring was one of the first Polk County athletes to sign a national letter of intent on early signing day Wednesday.
Woodring, one of the county’s best pitchers, signed with Florida Gulf Coast after posting a 6-4 record with an impressive 1.35 ERA. He recorded 78 strikeouts in 67 innings this past season. He also hit .303 with 17 RBI and three extra-base hits.