TUNNEL HILL, Ga. -- Summer league and high school softball coaches often have differing opinions on players, but there is a consensus on the Chattanooga area's latest Southeastern Conference recruit.
Northwest Whitfield's Emily Boyd committed this week to Mississippi, and the junior pitcher's two coaches say the Lady Rebels are getting a fierce competitor.
"I've never seen a more competitive athlete in any sport," Northwest coach Shane Ramsey said of Boyd.
Added Boyd's summer coach, Tad Andrus of Team Fury '95: "She's extremely competitive and her work ethic and desire is more than anyone I've ever seen. This is a great thing for her, and I'm so glad it's worked out."
Boyd has won 66 games in her first three seasons for the Lady Bruins and struck out 722 batters. She was the North Georgia player of the year as a freshman with 21 wins and 325 strikeouts. She led Northwest back to the Class AAAA state playoffs last fall, when she was 27-6 with a 0.67 earned run average and 230 strikeouts in 201 innings.
Her fastball has been clocked in the 65 mph range.
She accepted a visit to Ole Miss last week, received an offer and did not take long to accept it, though she said informing others she was off the market was tough.
"This is exactly what I want in a college," she said. "It's a big college in a small college town. It feels homey, and getting to play in the SEC is a dream of mine. Some of the best players in the country play in that conference. There were several other schools I was looking at, and Samford had offered me first. Having to tell them no was tough."
Andrus, who has coached several Division I players, believes Boyd is just beginning to realize her potential.
"I've known her since she was 9 and she's always thrown hard," he said. "She's had to realize as she's grown older that speed isn't always the issue. She's really improved with her movement."
The commitment is more than a realization of a dream.
"It's a big relief for sure," she said. "I don't have to impress anyone anymore, and I can work on training and my mechanics."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...