Chipola coach talks about first rounder coming from his program

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 10:49 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -A Chipola baseball freshman goes in round one of the MLB draft Sunday, and that’s likely to have a rather positive effect on the college, and the Chipola baseball program.

Sunday night Jeff Johnson watched one of his freshman players, Cam Collier, out of the Atlanta area, get drafted in the first round of the MLB draft. Cam going number 18 to the Cincinnati Reds organization. Monday I caught up with coach Johnson via Zoom to gauge his reaction to that.

“Excited for Cam and his family.” the coach told me. “What a great family they have and you know it was a great group to work with. You know his dad played in the big leagues and you know coached Cam throughout the years. You know sometimes when you deal with parents like that it’s hard to deal with. But just a great group of people. Enjoyed working with them. Proud that Cam went in the first round. Kind of went a little bit later than we thought he could go but you know the draft is a crazy thing. An uncertain thing, as far as where people go in front of you. And also the deals they are making to save some money.”

Collier hit .333 with 8 homers and 47 RBI as a freshman for the Indians this past season. He’s not the first Indian to be a first rounder, but he’s the highest player ever chosen from the Chipola roster at number 18.

“Well it’s something that makes you proud.” Johnson says “You know it’s something when you build a program, you have guys that come in. Adam Loewen, Adam was the third pick in the first round in 2003. Now he signed the next year as a draft and follow. So he didn’t go into the draft the following year. So Adam’s probably the highest pick we’ve ever had. But he signed as a draft and follow. Cam becomes the highest pick that signed the year he was drafted. And when that happens it gives you some exposure. It gives you some credibility within the recruiting community. And hopefully that will pay off for us here down the stretch this year. "

Losing Collier, and another freshman, pitcher Kenya Huggins to the draft, does cause some shuffling in terms of the roster, and the recruiting Johnson must do this summer. “Well that (losing guys to the draft) along with recruiting as well. You know your incoming guys, we’ve got a couple of those guys who possibly have a chance to go as well. You know we left some things open, it’s a crazy world we’re living in right now. With the D1 transfers, the one time transfer rule. The NIL money and everything else that is going on at the Division One level. It’s getting tougher to try to decide who you’re going to recruit. And how long to wait and all that. You know we’ve rolled the dice a little bit, we will wait until after tomorrow to try and make a few things happen. And we’ve got a few guys out there that are interested in Chipola. So we’ll see what happens here in the next couple of days.”

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