Top SEC freshman honors shock Henry|[05/23/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ex-Vicksburg High standout second on team with .376 batting average; WC’s Lieberman first-team all-CUSA

Nearly a year ago, Jordan Henry collected the award for being the best baseball player in Warren County.

He never dreamed he’d be collecting the hardware he did on Tuesday.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The vibrant former Vicksburg High Gator earned the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year honors. He will lead the Rebels into the SEC Tournament opener tonight against archrival Mississippi State at 8.

&#8220When I got to the field (Tuesday) one of the coaches came up to me and told me. I was pretty shocked,” Henry said. &#8220I know there are a lot of good players in the SEC and this is definitely and honor, especially being picked by the SEC coaches.”

Henry was a unanimous pick for the All-Freshman team, the only first-year player to be picked by 11 of the league’s 12 coaches. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.

&#8220Jordan Henry earning freshman of the year is a tremendous honor and says a lot about the kind of year he has had in his first year of collegiate baseball, especially when you consider the talent level of this league,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said.

Henry is the first Ole Miss player since Stephen Head in 2003 to win the award. Ole Miss shortstop Zach Cozart and Mississippi State catcher Ed Easley earned first-team All-SEC selections. Easley on Monday also earned the Ferriss Award for being the best college baseball player in Mississippi.

Another Warren County standout, Joey Lieberman, who was a key cog in Warren Central’s march to the 2001 Class 5A state championship, earned first-team All-Conference USA honors.

The senior hit .288 with nine doubles, 12 home runs and he drove in 52 runs. Lieberman and the Tigers are the No. 5 seed in the Conference USA Tournament.

Henry, who also earned second-team All-SEC honors, started every game except one – the first of the season – for Ole Miss. Playing exclusively in right field, the lefty-swinging Henry tied with his brother Justin for second on the team with a .376 batting average. Jordan Henry stole 12 bases and was tops on the team with 52 runs scored.

It was that exact combination – speed and the ability to get on base – that led to his meteoric rise at Vicksburg High.

As a senior, he led the Gators with a .539 batting average. His 11 doubles that year were more than he had accrued in his first three years combined. He never hit a high school home run.

VHS coach Jamie Creel, who coached both Henrys, predicted early in Jordan’s high school career that he and stardom would collide.

&#8220Simply put, he gets hits most folks can’t because of his speed,” Creel said. &#8220He gets more infield hits because he is one of, if not the fastest player in the SEC. He is without a doubt the fastest that has ever come through Vicksburg High since I have been here.”

Jordan, though, takes the honors in stride.

&#8220It’s a nice pat on the back to earn this honor and I will enjoy it,” Henry said from the team’s hotel in Hoover, Ala. &#8220But now I am ready to go play ball. We have a big game coming up on Wednesday.”

The Rebels, the No. 5 seed, are scheduled to battle the Bulldogs in the first game, which also may go a long way toward deciding NCAA Regional sites.

&#8220We are expecting a battle,” Henry said. &#8220There should be a lot of fans here from Mississippi, it’s the prime-time game and we are very excited to be a part of it.”

Mississippi State’s Jeffrey Rea and Ole Miss pitchers Lance Lynn and Cody Satterwhite earned second-team honors. Ole Miss second baseman Zach Miller and pitcher Nathan Baker, along with Mississippi State’s Conner Powers earned all-Freshman honors.

&#8220The SEC is, if not the best conference in the country one of the best,” Henry said. &#8220Some of the best players in the country come from the SEC. Winning this honor is pretty cool.”

On the radio

8 p.m. – 1490 AM (Ole Miss)/105.5 FM (MSU) – No. 5 Ole Miss (35-21, 16-14) vs. No. 4 Mississippi State (33-18, 15-13)

On D2

SEC, Conference USA tourney schedules

SEC, C-USA award winners