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Breaking down LSU baseball's crop of junior college additions

On3 imageby:Matthew Brune06/13/24

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LSU head coach Jay Johnson will look to the transfer portal and the 2024 high school class for players who can help his roster in 2025, but the junior college route has perhaps become underrated in recent years with the portal. Several high-level players end up having to go the junior college route for one reason or another and make their way back to the D1 level polished and ready to contribute. that’s what Johnson is hoping for as he signed five junior college players who can help rebuild depth and compete for starting jobs this offseason.

“Those are the four I’m comfortable talking about right now. It helps to add some age with the attrition we’ll have drafted,” Johnson said. “I will tell you, our assessment of those guys was they are as good as anyone that could become available in the transfer portal this summer. I’m very excited about that. Along with the guys that are committed to come back, I think the character with those guys is really strong as well.”

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Daniel Harden, an outfielder from McLennan CC, is also making his way to LSU, but Johnson was not sure he could talk about him at the moment.

Here’s the rundown of the other four JUCO players coming to LSU with quotes from Jay Johnson.

SS Tanner Reaves, Blinn College
Johnson: “He was the first commitment. He committed in the spring of 2023 and it was always to come for this next year. He had a phenomenal freshman season and led the country in home runs. Then this year he didn’t have as many home runs, but batted .370 and broke the hits record in the College World Series and his team won the championship. Very versatile player. A guy that might be able to plate every position but pitcher and catcher because he’s a great athlete. A left handed hitter and the type of player I’ve had great success with. I’m excited to get him here. The plan is to get him here for summer school.”

Catcher Blaise Priester, Meridian CC

Johnson: “I saw he was named a junior college All-American today. He’s evolved a lot since the last time he was here. He had great power and he’s refined as a hitter.”

1B/OF Trevor Schmidt, Fullerton College

Johnson: “He hit a bunch of homers this year. Guy we signed in the spring in California. Power [is important] with Tommy leaving and Jared Jones deciding. Trevor has some versatility in terms of first base and outfield.”

LHP Conner Ware, Pearl River CC

Johnson: “A left handed pitcher who dealt with some injury stuff this season, but got back to pitch in the postseason. Has a great arm and a really important commitment for us.”

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