It’s becoming a tradition. Players from the area now go to the county over to play baseball for the University of Georgia.
In the last three years, Oconee County High School’s Connor Tate, Cole Tate, Westminster Christian Academy’s C.J. Smith, former Prince Avenue Christian School pitcher Cain Tatum have all stayed home to play their college baseball.
North Oconee High School senior Will Pearson threw his name onto that list when he signed his national letter of intent to play for the Bulldogs when he finishes his high school career.
Pearson admits he only made the decision over the last weekend, but the growing momentum for locals staying in the area and playing for their hometown school played a role in him deciding in favor of the Georgia Bulldogs rather than the Bulldogs of Mississippi State University.
“It’s going to be really special,” Pearson said. “You get to play for your hometown team. All those guys we’ve seen the last few years have been great high school players and they’re playing really well at the college level too. It’s going to be great to be a part of all that has to offer. Knowing they had Cole and Connor, since they were from right down the road at Oconee County makes this a real thing. I saw that they were liking it and they were having fun representing their hometown and I want to do the same thing.”
Pearson also jumped at the opportunity to play with his current teammate Bubba Chandler who is a Georgia baseball commit at the moment.
Chandler could be faced with a decision between the college level and the professional ranks as his stock continues to jump on the scouting circuit.
Pearson looks forward to potentially sharing a field with Chandler if his commitment holds for the next two years.
“I love Bubba (Chandler), he’s a great player,” Pearson said. “I love playing with him. I think us on the same field this year is going to be really special for us this year. Him starting and me closing it down is going to be really fun. I’m excited to get to play with him for four years at Georgia.”
For Pearson, the recruiting process ignited over the last year after he had a breakout season for the Titans on their way to the Class 4A state semifinals last spring.
Pearson’s physical changes placed him in the position to have the success he’s had over the last few seasons at NOHS. As a three-year starter coming into his fourth season this spring, Pearson has seen a little of every thing high school baseball has to offer, but it’s been the commitment to the weight room that has turned him into an SEC caliber baseball player.
“I think that’s played a really big role [weight room],” Pearson said. “You might not always like it, but the weight room is the place that you need to be. You’ve just got to buy into everything. Coach Lasley, coach Peters and all of our assistant coaches, you’ve got to buy in to everything they’re telling you because it’ll work out in the long run.”
Pearson is considering majoring in business.