“There are not too many junior colleges that can say they have 12 Division I signees,” Willis said. “We have guys going to quality programs.”
“It is our job at a junior college program to move our players on,” Willis said. “Our goal is to develop kids and help them further their athletic careers.”
Eunice High product Stuart Turner is heading to Mississippi, continuing the list of LSUE players joining SEC programs after Raph Rhymes and Mitch Hopkins signed with LSU and Zach Kirskey went to Ole Miss in 2010.
Turner, National Defensive Player of the Year and Academic All-American, hit .332 with seven home runs and 49 RBI with only three errors behind the plate all season.
“We are going to have some very big shoes to fill behind the plate with Stuart moving on,” Willis said. “He stepped in after Jacob Fisher, who went on to catch two years at Southeastern. The last two catchers we have had have been very, very good.”
Pitcher Brady Wilson (14-1, 2.47 ERA, 90K, 27 BB) is heading to Tulane, following the steps of former Bengal and Parkview product Andrew Reeves.
“I expect Brady to filter right in to Tulane and he could join Andrew as the Friday and Saturday starters for them after both pitching here the last two years,” Willis said. “We are proud that he has gone to a quality academic school. That says a lot about our academics here at our school.”
Pitcher Patrick Michon (2-0, 1.88 ERA, 22 K, 13 BB) is the first Bengal to sign with Texas A&M, according to Willis.
“I think he will step right in and continue the role he had with us,” the coach said. “He may be a middle reliever or even possibly be a closer.”
Michon set the Bengal record with 16 saves this season.
Shortstop Sam Carriere, who hit .329 with five home runs, 60 RBI and 21 stolen bases, is heading to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
“He had bunch of offers, but wanted to stay close to home,” Willis said. “He is hard-nosed player and should be a quality player for the Cajuns. He is going to make everybody around him better.”
All-American outfielder Dalton Herrington (.350 BA, 10 home runs, 64 RBI, 48 stolen bases) signed with the University of Louisiana at Monroe last fall.
“I expect Dalton to go up there and have a tremendous season next year,” Willis said. “I expect him to go on to play professional baseball.”
Pitcher Tanner Olinde (1-0, 0.60 ERA, 16 K, 4 BB) is heading to Northwestern State University after being part of the deep pitching staff at LSUE.
“He is a quality arm who throws hard,” the coach said. “I think they are excited about getting him this late in the recruiting class.”
Pitchers Jared Dye (3-1, 3.09 ERA, 20K, 11 BB) and Chad Miller (3-0, 4.43 ERA, 14K, 7 BB) signed with ULM.
“They are three quality kids who should step in and help those guys out.”
Zach Hawkins (.340 BA, 1 home run, 27 RBI) is heading to the University of New Orleans.
“I am happy for Zach after all his injuries this year,” Willis said of his first baseman. “UNO had offered him a scholarship out of high school and he chose to come here first. They know what kind of player he is and I think they got a huge steal with him.”
Marc Picciola (.311 BA, 1 HR, 29 RBI) is moving on to Nicholls State University.
“Their program is turning around with Seth Thibodeaux (LSUE player) and he is doing a good job,” Willis said. “Marc fits in with their mentality as a hard-nosed kid.”
Willis said Picciola should help NSU on the mound as well as infielder after throwing out of the bullpen as a freshman at Louisiana Tech.
Pitcher Cody Boutte (9-1, 1.82 ERA, 77 K, 21 BB) is also heading to ULL.
“I know they are extremely excited about him,” Willis said. “He brings a lot to the table he just need to get his associate degree to move on to a four-year school.”
Chuck Tillery (.276 BA, 13 RBI) has signed with Jackson State University, after several other offers.
“His mother went to Jackson State and played there and he wanted to get closer to home,” the coach said. “He fits in to what they want to do.”
Tyler Caruthers (.286 BA, 10 RBI) is continuing his playing time at University of Arkansas Monticello.
“He was a defensive replacement for us and he didn’t get much playing time,” Willis said. “I was excited that he earned a scholarship to continue to play after he left here.”
The most Bengals signed in one year was 17 off the 2010 national championship squad - 105 have signed over the past 10 seasons.