Yellow Jackets Kel Johnson: “Tech to the Core”

Photo credit Danny Karnik/GT Athletics

Photo credit Danny Karnik/GT Athletics

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech standout freshman outfielder Kel Johnson (Palmetto, Ga./Home Schooled) is taking the country by storm with his bat. In an interview with College Baseball Central Monday afternoon Johnson said that everything he can do on the field is yet to be seen.

“I am Tech to the core,” Johnson proudly stated. “I am going to do everything I can out there to help my team win, and that is yet to be defined.”

Georgia Tech baseball has always been known for its high-scoring offenses and tough defenses. Johnson, a 6 feet 4 inch 204 pound hitting machine has been bashing baseballs his entire playing career so it makes since that he fits into that mold.

“I knew coming in it was the best developmental program in the country,” Johnson added. “They didn’t want to change too much, but they made some minor adjustments that have helped with simplifying things and keeping consistent.”

Johnson has consistently put the ball out of the park this year for starters, he has four home runs and with a .406 batting average to go along with 13 hits, four doubles, 13 RBI, and 29 total bases hitching to a .906 slugging percentage, things are simply coming together for this young Phenom.

During the opening weekend of 2015 NCAA baseball, Johnson introduced himself to the nation by going 4-for-5 with five RBIs on eight hits, along with three doubles, two home runs (1 vs St. Johns,1 vs Fordham) and a batting average of .571, a feat that landed him Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week honors.

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Kel Johnson – Photo Georigia Tech Athletics

However, he wasn’t done with his introductions just yet. With Tech trailing Georgia Southern 4-1 in the seventh inning on Feb. 17, Johnson teed-off on a pitch and sent a moon shot, grand-slam home run off the scoreboard in left field.

The slam by Johnson had him sitting at three home runs in his first four games as a Yellow Jacket, becoming the first Tech freshman to hit a grand slam since Matt Simonds on March 7, 2009 versus Maryland.

Johnson wasn’t done yet. Against Coastal Carolina on Saturday, Johnson, who has had at least one extra-base hit in the first six games of his freshman year went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a solo homer. The kid can do it all; he’s great on salads too.

“I have earned a spot on this team,” Johnson pointed out. “Now I have to continue to prove coach Hall right for giving me this opportunity. I am not superstitious, but I believe in patterns and consistency. I do not like to change behavior because that can carry over to the game. I just make adjustments pitcher to pitcher and prepare for every pitch the same way.”

The baseball team, under Head Coach Danny Hall, has become a yearly challenger for the ACC regular season and tournament titles and his staff, which includes hitting coach Bryan Prince and assistant coach Mike Nickeas are shaping Johnson well.

Big name MLB players have come through this program. Guys like Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, and Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters have been of help to the young star as well.

“Being at Georgia Tech has given me the opportunity to hear from Matt Wieters, Charlie Blackmon, and coaches Prince and Nickeas,” Johnson eagerly stated. “We talk hitting plans and they have all helped elevate my game.”

Johnson steps back between the lines on 02/24/15 at Auburn in Auburn, Ala., at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit Danny Karnik/GT Athletics

Photo Credit Danny Karnik/GT Athletics

About the Author

Matthew Gray
Matthew Gray is a national writer for College Baseball Central and a member of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, granting him an official vote annually on which coaches and players will be inducted. Matthew is also a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, which gives him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy (Player of the Year), Regional Players of the Year and NCBWA All-America voting. Matthew is college baseball's go to source for exclusive player, coach, scout and executive interview based articles. He is at the forefront of prospect knowledge in the nation, and owns a strong managerial and professional background which includes over 25 years of experience as an author, scout, coach and athlete. Matthew has two daughters, Shelby, and Michelle. Follow Matthew on Twitter @CBCBaseball95