Boyd-Buchanan shortstop Cade Evans has committed to play baseball for Auburn University.
The junior was offered a scholarship by new Tigers coach Butch Thompson on Sunday evening and immediately accepted.
Thompson, who has had less than two weeks on the job since coming over from an associate head coach's position at Mississippi State, had been recruiting Evans for the Bulldogs. He was in Jupiter, Fla., a couple of weeks ago and watched Evans go 10-for-14 in a prestigious tournament while playing fall ball for the Chattanooga Cyclones.facebook
"When Coach Thompson got the job I knew Auburn was who I wanted to play for," Evans said. "He flew to Jupiter to watch me play, I went down for a visit last weekend and he called and made the offer last night."
Evans also was being recruited by Tennessee, Central Florida and Coastal Carolina. It's expected that he'll continue as a middle infielder, probably at shortstop, but he can also play the outfield.
"I haven't seen a better fielding shortstop at the high school level, and I felt that way when he was a freshman," Boyd-Buchanan coach Josh Rider. "He's an incredible defensive player, and when you throw in the speed aspect when he's on the bases, he's just a nightmare for opposing teams."
Evans last season batted leadoff much of the year for the Buccaneers, who wound up third in the state tournament. He hit .459 with 33 stolen bases. He also scored 35 runs and added 14 RBIs.
"I have been fortunate enough to coach close to 300 players who have obtained scholarships," Cyclones general manager George Koontz said, "and players who have done so at eight different SEC programs and 58 who have played professionally, and Cade Evans is as good of an all-round baseball player as we have ever had."
Evans also pitched last year for the Bucs, posting a 3-1 record in 21 innings.
"He has touched 86 (mph) off the mound and has gotten better hitting every one of the 12 seasons (summer and fall) he has played with us," said Koontz, who also praised Evans' understanding of "the nuances of the game" and his competitive drive.
It's likely that Evans will continue to pursue his desire to switch-hit, which could enhance his college career.
"It's still a work in progress, but at that tournament in Jupiter he had several doubles and had five stolen bases so, yes, I think he'll hit at the next level," Rider said, adding that the Tigers are getting more than just a good baseball player.
"He's a leader. He holds himself more accountable than anybody. He's unselfish and he enjoys working hard," the Bucs' coach said. "He's a smart youngster and there will be no issues with him moving to the next level academically."
Evans' grandfather, Rudy Simpson, was a pitcher at Florida and later played for the Cleveland Indians.
"If Cade stays healthy, I fully expect him to play in the big leagues within three or four years after he leaves Auburn," Koontz said.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.