Glynn Academy two-sport athlete Randon Jernigan took two weeks to consider his baseball scholarship offer from University of Georgia.
Two weeks was all it took. Jernigan announced via twitter he’ll be signing with the Bulldogs during the early signing period in November to play baseball in the Southeastern Conference in his home state.
“This might surprise a lot of people by the decision I’m making, but my family and I think this is the best thing for my future as a student athlete,” Jernigan said in a statement posted on Twitter.
He went on to acknowledge family, friends and teammates before saying, “The next chapter of my life will be spent in Athens, Georgia as a DAWG.”
Georgia had been courting Jernigan for several months after he left a solid first impression during the 2017 prep baseball season. A scout from Georgia happened to catch a pair of Jernigan’s best games against Statesboro High School. Jernigan was 5-for-9 with five stolen bases in the first two games of the series, facing Division I pitching and velocity in the 90s.
He and Glynn Academy football teammate Marvin Dallas worked out for football scouts in Athens in the early summer. Jernigan said he was surprised neither he nor his teammate drew an offer based on their workouts. But Jernigan didn’t have to wait much longer. Glynn Academy’s starting quarterback made the decision to hang up his football helmet at the end of the 2017 season and pursue baseball full time at the next level.
“I felt like I have a higher ceiling in baseball,” Jernigan said. “Growing up a Georgia boy, who wouldn’t want to play for (UGA)?”
Jernigan had a handful of football offers, but stayed focused on baseball. He said he also built a good relationship with the baseball coaching staff at Kennesaw State University.
Jernigan said he got good vibes during his meeting with Georgia head baseball coach Scott Stricklin and toured the school’s new indoor practice facility, which includes batting cages inside the training space for the school’s other varsity programs.
Georgia baseball hasn’t finished with a record above .500 winning percentage since it was 31-26 (14-15 Southeastern Conference) in 2012. The Bulldogs posted their worst overall record during Stricklin’s four year tenure in 2017 at 25-32. Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said in May Stricklin retained his job partially based on the strong finish Georgia posted in SEC play to conclude the 2017 regular season.
The Bulldogs took two-of-three games from SEC rivals Kentucky, Mississippi State and South Carolina. The three series that impressed McGarity also impressed Jernigan, who admitted he was unimpressed by Georgia’s rocky start.
Jernigan said he was also struck that six freshmen started at least 30 games for the Bulldogs, a sign there is an opportunity for him to make an early impact on some meaningful future seasons.
“It hit me, they’re starting six freshmen,” Jernigan said. “When those freshmen are juniors, and my class gets there, that should be an Omaha team.”
Jernigan enters his senior season at Glynn Academy with renewed motivation, eying a second straight region title for the Red Terror football team before he sets out to repeat a baseball region title with the Glynn Academy baseball team.
“Some guys commit and get complacent,” Jernigan said. “I look at it as I have to get better and earn a spot. I’ve really gained some motivation. I promised I was going to stay humble.”