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July 9, 2014

SEC ROUNDUP: Auburn’s Thompson tacks on 3rd All-American award

CULLMAN — There seems to be no end in sight for Keegan Thompson’s ever-growing accolades.

The former Cullman Bearcat ace and current Auburn pitching phenom garnered another distinction this week as a first-team Freshman All-American by Perfect Game USA, a prominent scouting service based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

It marks the third such selection for Thompson, who earned spots on Baseball America’s and College Baseball of America’s top freshman teams as well. He also nabbed a coveted spot on the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team as well.

Cullman High coach Brent Patterson said he was anything but surprised by his former player’s rampant success.

“I’ve never seen anyone like him,” he said. “We expected to see him go off and have great years for Auburn. Keegan is just wise beyond his days. He pitches like he’s 30. A lot of athletes in that conference have similar stuff to him, but there are very few who have his mound presence. He knows exactly what he wants to do and how he wants to do it out there.”

Thompson completed his first year with the Tigers sporting a 5-3 record and a 2.01 ERA, fourth best among all throwers in the SEC. He struck out 73 and walked 23 in 89 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .192 batting average. Thompson, who was added to Perfect Game’s squad as a utility player, batted . 244 on the year in limited duty as a first baseman and designated hitter for the Orange and Blue.

“He’s only going to get better and better,” Patterson said. “He has pitched in so many venues, levels and settings. I think with every little thing he does, he becomes a bit more experienced. He’s just got a knack for what he does. It’s tremendous.”

College Football

The Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday the players who will participate in this year’s SEC Media Days, which is set to begin Monday, July 14 in Birmingham.

Auburn will kick off the four-day event with quarterback Nick Marshall, defensive tackle Gabe Wright and four-year starting center Reese Dismukes.

Coach Gus Malzahn will speak to the media Monday at noon before stepping aside for the players to answer questions.

Meanwhile, Alabama will take center stage Thursday at noon, as Nick Saban will address those in attendance for the annual meetings inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Joining the head coach will be wide receivers Amari Cooper and Christion Jones, as well as junior safety Landon Collins.

% The Times’ sports writer Jake Winfrey contributed to this report.

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