When Shane Cox joined the Munford High School baseball program in the fall of 2017, he was a skinny freshman, but it was obvious he had potential.
The Cougars were coming off an appearance in the 2017 state tournament and graduating several senior starters.
Cox was named the starting shortstop and lead-off hitter in the spring of 2018 and never left the lineup.
“We knew when he came in his skill set was above average and his baseball IQ was high,” said head coach Scotty Yount. “I think he’s played every inning since he started.”
It wasn’t always easy. There were some older players who, at first, weren’t sure what to make of a ninth-grader stepping directly into the lineup.
“I got a lot of hate,” Cox said. “A lot of older kids picked on me, but it was out of love. I was nervous at first but once I got into the flow of things everything fell into place.”
With his senior season still three months away, Cox signed a scholarship with the University of Memphis Thursday afternoon in the Munford High School cafeteria.
The once skinny freshman, now 6-3 and 170 pounds, has grown into his frame.
“The natural physical development that you knew was going to come along has happened between last year and this year,” Yount said. “You can really tell a difference in his body. He’ll really get into the weight room when he gets to Memphis. The sky’s the limit. He still has a high ceiling. He’s not near as good as he’s gonna be.”
Even though he hit over .300 as a freshman, Cox said he felt like he struggled that first season. He got better as a sophomore and was looking forward to a breakout junior season before COVID-19 halted play.
“You’re looking for a guy with five tools and he has all of them,” Yount said. “He can run, has a good arm, can hit for average, he can hit for power and he catches the ball really well … His understanding of how to play the game, not to mention his skill set, is going to take him a long way. He’s a blue-collar guy, too, who’s tough and works hards, just a good all-around kid.”
Cox will join two other Tipton County products at Memphis. Covington graduate Austin Baskin is a sophomore for the Tigers and Brighton senior Logan Rushing signed with Memphis last week.
“I like the coaches, they way they conduct the program, and the school,” Cox said about Memphis, “and it’s close to home. It just felt right, felt normal.”