Three Morgan Academy baseball players sign with Auburn

Published 5:37 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Three Morgan Academy baseball players signed scholarships with Auburn University on Wednesday.

Senator infielders David Ducote, Gunnar Henderson and catcher Brayton Brown signed their national letters of intent in the Senators’ Gymnasium. It was the first day of the NCAA Fall Signing Period.

Henderson, rated the state’s top prep prospect by Baseball America, chose the Tigers over in-state rival Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State. He also earned All-American honors by Under Armour and Perfect Game.

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“I grew up an Auburn fan and it was always the place where I wanted to go,” Henderson said. “My brother, Jackson, made the fall team at Auburn.”

Brown chose Auburn over UAB, Samford, Kent State and University of New Orleans. He said the Tigers stood out over the other Division I schools that recruited him.

“I picked Auburn because I wanted to play college baseball in the SEC, the greatest conference in the nation,” Brown said.

The recruiting process was different for Ducote, a transfer from St. Andrew Episcopal School in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Ducote wasn’t offered by the top three Division I schools in Mississippi: Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss. All have Top 20 programs and each advanced to the College World Series over the past decade.

“It motivated me when Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss didn’t recruit me,” Ducote said. “I’m a better baseball player than that.”

Ducote, who chose Auburn over Samford and Louisville, can’t wait to play MSU and Ole Miss in the SEC.

“I wanted to be in the SEC,” Ducote said.

Auburn baseball coach Butch Thompson said the Senators trio fits in with the rest of his signing class. The Tigers’ signing class is ranked in the Top 20 nationally by Collegiate Baseball (14th) and Baseball America (17th).

“I’m excited to get three outstanding players,” Thompson said. “It’s the first time I’ve had three players come from the same school. We take pride in going after good ballplayers and good students who come from great families and programs.”

First-year Morgan Academy baseball coach Stephen Clements said he’s looking forward to coaching Ducote, Henderson and Brown.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be part of kids that are special like them,” Clements said.

Morgan Academy Athletic Director and football coach Josh Thacker praised the trio’s dedication on and off the field.

“The scholarships are a culmination of their hard work,” Thacker said. “We’re expecting great things out of them at Auburn.”