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PREP NOTEBOOK: SEC, UK keep tapping area well, snag Rice's Plummer, area bids adieu military-bound contingent WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Nick Plummer is going to play his college baseball at Kentucky. It's part of a trend. (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Nick Plummer is going to play his college baseball at Kentucky. It's part of a trend. (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Matt Ruppenthal is off to the SEC too. (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Matt Ruppenthal is off to the SEC as well. (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Matt Ruppenthal is off to the SEC as well. (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Brad Schaenzer is off to Kentucky too (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Nick Plummer is going to play his college baseball at Kentucky. It's part of a trend. (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Nick Plummer is going to play his college baseball at Kentucky. It's part of a trend. (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Caine Watlington (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Caine Watlington (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Dylan Roney (Oakland Press file photo)
  • Ryan Brand (Oakland Press file photo)

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The SEC continued its assault on the Oakland County prep sports scene last week when the University of Kentucky nabbed Birmingham Brother Rice baseball star Nick Plummer for its 2015 recruiting class.

Since the mid-to-late 2000s, the SEC has made a pronounced effort to mine Metro Detroit, specifically Oakland County, for athletic talent (see recent NBA first-round draft pick, James Young, who graduated from Rochester High School in 2013 and then helped lead Kentucky to the NCAA Championship Game in March, being named to the All-Final Four Team).

Most pundits consider the SEC the best overall college athletic conference in terms of the three major sports (football, basketball and baseball).

The Wildcats have been particularly fond of the area. Plummer, a five-tool pro prospect in the outfield, is the fifth prep athlete from the county to commit to play their college ball in the Bluegrass State with Kentucky the last four years.

Snaring Plummer’s commitment is a coup for the Wildcats baseball program. He had previously pledged to stay close to home and had been committed to the University of Michigan.

An all-state selection for the second straight season, Plummer hit .575 with 35 RBI and eight home runs this spring.

Plummer’s teammate the past couple campaigns, righty fire-baller Matt Ruppenthal, is also destined for the SEC diamond, enrolled at recently-crowned College World Series champion Vanderbilt.

Ruppenthal and Lake Orion lefty hurler Brad Schaenzer were both named Louisville Slugger All-Americans. Schaenzer, boasting a 1.34 ERA in 2014, is going to be waiting for Plummer in Lexington and is signed, sealed and delivered to Kentucky for 2015.

D.J. LeMahieu (Brother Rice Class of 2007), the most-recent baseball player from the county ranks to see time in the big leagues, is an SEC alum, suiting up for Louisiana State University at the college level. LeMahieu is currently the starting second baseman for the Colorado Rockies.

America the beautiful

The Fourth of July holiday over the weekend had some additional meaning to the group of area families that sent a son off to “basic training” last week at one of the American service academies.

Recent grads, like Birmingham Brother Rice football player Sage Baltrusaitis (center), Clarkston football player Caine Watlington (athlete), Novi Detroit Catholic Central football player Dylan Roney (defensive end) and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s baseball player Connor Bowers, all shipped off last week.

Baltrusaitis and Bowers are both at Army (West Point) in New York, while Roney and Watlington are in Colorado at Air Force.

Last November, Baltrusaitis and Watlington won a state title in their respective final games on the high school gridiron. Roney appeared in his third state finals at Ford Field in a row.

Joining Roney and Watlington on the Air Force football team will be Detroit U-D Jesuit incoming senior quarterback Ryan Brand, one of the state's premiere prep field generals who committed last week on the heels of a visit. Brand started under center for Farmington Hills Harrison as a sophomore in 2012.

In his first year starting at U-D Jesuit, he sparked the Cubs into the playoffs and to an unexpected district championship, recording more than 2,500 total yards from scrimmage. Next week, he'll be out in Oregon with Brother Rice gunslinger and Michigan-commit Alex Malzone, throwing in the finals of the Elite 11 national quarterbacking competition held at Nike headquarters.

Central to the issue

Ortonville Brandon’s Sean Martens came out of almost nowhere to become one of the area’s most dominant ace pitchers on the prep baseball diamond in 2014.

That dominance landed him a Division I college scholarship –Martens’ inked with Central Michigan University last week.

Leading Brandon to a league crown in the Flint Metro back in the spring, he was 9-1 toeing the slab, flashing a miniscule ERA of 0.36 and striking out over 90 batters in 60 innings of work.

Prior to CMU coming into the picture, Martens was headed to Northwood.

Tweet of the week

"About to go crazy this year....shut them haters up!" - Southfield Christian two-sport star Kameron Garner, commenting on the upcoming season on the football field where he is an all-state cornerback.

Last Updated: 7/6/2014 9:59:32 AM EST


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