BY THIS time next week, Tony Holton could be pro baseball-bound or pondering college enrollment plans. Naturally, a few life decisions will be weighing on the mind of this recent graduate.
The former Jackson County centerfielder is projected by some as a somewhat early or mid-round pick in Monday through Wednesday’s Major League Baseball draft. But several college teams are courting him as well.
“To be honest with you, it’s been kind of stressful,” Holton said Friday. “I don’t know if I’m going to go pro or go to college. It’s a lot on my plate.”
Holton – who transferred to Jackson County for his senior year – said he has heard that he may go anywhere from the eighth to fifteenth round to either Boston or Baltimore, but nothing is certain, he said. But playing professional baseball certainly has its allure. It’s something Holton has wanted for a long time.
“It’s been a goal ever since I was walking. It’s been my goal in life,” said Holton, who hit .387 with three homeruns and 18 RBIs this past season. But there are the other options on the table. The all-region player and Georgia Dugout Club senior all-star selection has college offers from USC-Aiken, ABAC, Middle Georgia and Gordon College that he’s still mulling. As of Friday, Holton wasn’t decided on his post-high school path.
Holton’s high school coach, Tommy Fountain, who has heard 15 through 25th round projections, called Holton a “ridiculously talented athlete.” He points to Holton’s 6.6 speed in the 60-yard dash, potential for power, capable arm strength and size at 6’2,” 190-lbs. Holton also played football at Jackson County.
“If you’ve got that God-given ability and you can play a little bit, it will take you a long way,” Fountain said.
Fountain notes that it’s common for scouts to liken prospects to notable Major League players when they were that age. The coach said he’s heard scouts draw comparisons to former big leaguers Michael Tucker and Jermaine Dye when categorizing Holton.
If drafted, Holton would become the first player at Jackson County – as far as anyone at the school knows – to earn that distinction.
“That would be huge,” Fountain said. “I think it’s another sign that we’re trying to do things the right way.”
Fountain added: “It’s amazing how one or two guys can get themselves on the radar and then it changes things for your program,” he said.
In addition to being a potential pick in the draft, Holton received further attention recently with his selection to the Georgia Dugout Club Northeast Georgia Senior All Star Team.
The Dugout Club selects a team from the northeastern, northwestern, southeastern, southwestern, eastern and western portions of the state.
The teams played Tuesday at Kennesaw State University and will play Saturday at Luther Williams Stadium in Macon and then again on Sunday – a day before the start of the draft.
Holton looks forward to getting back on the field amid all this decision-making. “It’s kind of like something fun for me to do as my high school career comes to an end,” Holton said. “I’m happy to be doing it.”