Suwannee Democrat


January 31, 2013

Local ball player selected as All-American

Live Oak — Melody Christian Academy has a baseball superstar who’s just been selected as a 2013 Under Armour Pre-Season All-American.

Derek Johnson, 19, has been recognized by The Baseball Factory scouting department as being one of the best players in the nation.

“It’s only the top players around that get invited,” said Johnson. “If you stand out, then you get invited to the All-American game. It’s nice for me to get recognized as a top prospect.”

Johnson, currently a student at MCA, has excelled in several sports, but his preference and main love is baseball.

“He’s an athlete, not just baseball,” said MCA’s Principal Amanda Davis. “He’s athletic, the whole total package. The scouts have been after him for years. They’ll call him and he goes to a lot of different places in the summer, so that’s where the scouts all come.”

MCA basketball coach Mike Raines called Johnson a “big time athlete”.

“He’s only played basketball for me for a couple of years, he’d never played before,” Raines said. “If he had started four or five years ago, he’d be a heck of a player. He’s good now. Just an athlete, got good speed.”

Johnson and other nationally elite ball players will be given their UAPSAA certificates. Athletes attending the event were formed into teams and then competed for two days of BBCOR*/Wood bat competition at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz., former spring training home of the Chicago White Sox.

Many scouts from professional teams were instructing players on-field and giving them a better chance to get in-depth looks at each prospect. The players will also be provided with their own Baseball Factory Player Page that includes a bio with contact information, video footage from the event, a scouting report with tool grades and an overall player rating.

Johnson said although he’s been approached by many scouts, he has his eyes and heart set on one particular school after Melody.

“I can honestly say that right now I’m committed to Alabama State for baseball,” said Johnson. “I have a total of about five pro scouts that offered me contracts to come play right now. I want to go to school and worry about that later. Always school first.”

Johnson is no doubt a fantastic athlete, but what is he like off the field?

“Derek, he’s a leader,” said Davis. “He’s well-liked by the students and staff. He’s someone I’ve talked to about helping me around here.”

Davis has seen, over time, Johnson’s ability to reason and asses situations and handle them in a mature and practical way. She believes him to be a wonderful mentor for the other classmates.
“He’s a very nice young man,” said Davis. “We all think the world of him. He’s done well and for the kids, the students, they look up to him and respect him.”

*BBCOR stands for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution. All bats used in NCAA games and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) games must be BBCOR certified. In layman’s terms -- they want aluminum bats to have the same performance factors as wood bats and BBCOR certified bats will be more like wooden bats.


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