DWS baseball’s Harris Webb, front row, center, signs Wednesday to be a preferred walk-on at UGA. Webb was joined by, front row, from left, mother, Anjie Webb; and father, Jimmy Webb, as well as, back row, from left, sister, Parker; grandfather, Ron Massey; grandmother, Loretta Massey; grandmother, Jean Webb; and DWS baseball coach Rod Murray. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — The kid Deerfield-Windsor coach Rod Murray calls “a thermostat player” because he sets the tone for his team will be taking his talents to the University of Georgia.
Harris Webb, Deerfield's slick-fielding shortstop, signed a letter-of-intent with the Bulldogs on Wednesday. He will receive a preferred walk-on status and joins teammate center fielder Davis Hines, who inked the same deal with UGA earlier.
Webb was heavily recruited after shining on the DWS diamond for three years. He hit above .400 the last two seasons and is hitting .390 this year. He gained national recognition in January when he was chosen to play in the Under Armour Preseason All-American Tournament in Tucson, Ariz. — one of the most prestigious all-star showcases in the country.
“He’s a thermostat player,’’ Murray likes to say. “He sets the thermostat for the rest of the team. He was our leadoff hitter when he was a sophomore, and he hit in the No. 2 spot for us last year. He’s at the top of the order, up top setting the temperature for the rest of the team.’’
Webb signed in the DWS media center amid friends and family and topped it off by putting on Georgia baseball cap. He didn't need to buy one for the ceremony.
“I've had this cap awhile,” he said, pointing to the sweat stains inside the brim. “I've always been a Georgia fan. I went to my first Georgia football game when I was 3. My father went to Georgia. My grandfather went to Georgia, and my sister went to Georgia.'”
Webb was beaming.
“It's exciting. It's crazy,” he said. “It's a dream come true to be going to Georgia. I have no words to describe it. Really, none at all. It's indescribable.”
Webb had been to Georgia’s campus many times, but it was different when he made his recruiting visit to Athens.
“They showed me around and everything was unbelievable,'' he said. “I knew it was always there on the outside, but seeing everything from the inside was a whole new level.”
Webb, a honor student, said he didn't know what his major would be at UGA.
“I have no clue,” he said. “No clue at all.”
Webb is the kind of kid and player every coach wants to have on the field — and in the dugout.
“We've been blessed with a lot of great players, and Harris is right there in that group. We've been so blessed to have him,” Murray said. “As good of a player as he is, he is even a better person. He is always trying to help his teammates. He helps in everything. Whatever they need help with, he's always there to help.”
Webb is one of those baseball players who is a natural at the game and who works hard to make sure he always gets better, the hybrid player who is talented enough to succeed and smart enough to combine his baseball instincts and savvy with a hard-nose work ethic.
“He has great awareness of hitting in all counts,” Murray said. “He has a great set of feet around the bag and can really turn the double play.”
Murray then added with a smile: “We like it when they hit the ball to him. He’s got soft hands and a very accurate arm.
“He’s a solid baseball player with a lot of character. Georgia is lucky to get him.”
Murray knows what it means to Webb to become a Bulldog.
“He grew up wanting to go to the University of Georgia,” Murray said. “It's awesome to get a chance to play at the next level at your favorite college. I'm, sure he will do real well there.”
Webb, who wore a red and black tie to match his Georgia cap Wednesday, was ecstatic and smiled about a mile wide when he slipped on the cap.
It was a perfect fit — the cap, the day and his decision to go to Georgia.