LOUISBURG COLLEGE PITCHER AHMAAD GOLDSON
LOUISBURG -- The challenge was there, and Louisburg College baseball coach Blake Herring was more than happy to accept it -- even though it promised to entail more work and difficult decisions than the usual roster-building process.
After COVID-19 cancelled LC's 2020 spring season, sophomores were given the option to return for one more year by the National Junior College Athletic Association.
The same rule applied to Division I and II schools -- a move that was destined to shake up plenty of rosters. That trickle-down effect meant that Louisburg was destined to have the opportunity to lure some high-profile players who had to transfer from D-I colleges due to a roster glut.
Hard work, however, was necessary -- and that's exactly what Herring has done as his potential 2021 group continues to take shape -- and boasts some elite-level names.
Herring has already signed a trio of D-1 transfers in catchers Chris Sparber (Miami, Fla.) and Jared Glinski (Virginia Commonwealth), along with UNC-Chapel Hill pitcher Bennett Nance and Furman University third baseman Eli Weisner.
Herring is also excited about the arrival of Gage Smith, a former third sacker at Mars Hill.
"We really like who we have coming in,'' Herring said. "There has definitely been more play for us with the transfers and guys who will be returning for us. We were in a position where we were able to pick and choose the guys we wanted.
"And it's not over yet. I imagine you will see more guys transferring from Division I schools at Christmas Break.''
Sophomores who are expected to return for the Hurricanes including starting pitchers K.J. Wells, Tyler Shepherd and Tyler Hall; closer Josh Swartz; outfielder Dawson Painter and catcher Dylan Benton.
Herring also anticipates that several key freshmen from this past spring will be back, including starting pitcher Ahmaad Goldson and versatile infielder/outfielder Jonah Beamon.
And that list doesn't even feature the incoming recruiting class of high schoolers -- a group that Herring has been extremely upbeat about.
As usual, several other LC performers have signed letters-of-intent to continue their careers at four-year schools.
Slugger Phillip Boykin will be playing for former LC head coach Keith Shumate, while first baseman Drew Camp will attend USC-Upstate, where Mike McGuire (another former LC skipper) is the head coach.
Pitcher/infielder Jack Dragum, whose career at LC was brief but brilliant, has signed with UNC-Charlotte, and Hurricanes' starting catcher Landon Smith will play at the University of Mount Olive.