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June 19, 2013

Celek to return?





2013 SOUTH CAROLINA DRAFT CLASS
(Name, position, school, round (number), team)

Commit Nick Ciuffo, C, Lexington HS, 1 (21), Rays
Commit Travis Demeritte, 3B, Winder-Barrow (Ga.) HS, 1 (30), Rangers, SIGNED, June 10
Commit Cory Thompson, RHP, Mauldin HS, 5 (165), Reds, SIGNED, June 10
*Tyler Webb, LHP, 10 (314), Yankees
*LB Dantzler, 1B, 14 (415), Blue Jays
*Adam Westmoreland, LHP, 26 (772), Marlins
Commit Wil Crowe, RHP, Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) HS, 31 (921), Indians
Brison Celek, 1B, 31 (925), Blue Jays
Commit Matt Vogel, RHP, Patchogue-Medford (N.Y.) HS, 36 (1080), Diamondbacks
*Senior with no remaining eligibility

South Carolina is gaining another player, one the Gamecocks thought they had lost.

Rising fifth-year senior Brison Celek, five days after he confirmed to The (Charleston) Post and Courier that he was going to accept his draft position and bypass his final year of eligibility, confirmed to GamecockCentral.com on Wednesday that he may be changing his mind. The State first reported on Wednesday that Celek may have changed his mind, and Celek said that while nothing is definite, he was leaning toward coming back to school.

"I have to talk to coach (Chad) Holbrook first, and the other coaches," Celek said, but when asked if he had a reversal of thought, answered, "Yep."

A source close to the program said that when Celek agreed to a verbal contract and departed for Toronto's minor-league camp, an issue arose when he took a physical. While there is nothing long-term factoring into Celek's health or career, the Blue Jays rescinded his signing bonus. Since Celek never signed a contract, he still retains his amateur eligibility.

Asked about the physical, Celek responded that he wasn't at liberty to talk about that yet. There may be a definite answer on Wednesday evening.

Celek was drafted in the 31st round and since he was going to be a senior in 2014, with no leverage, and he wasn't guaranteed of playing every day at designated hitter, his primary position, it made sense for him to leave. He was quoted in the Post and Courier that he felt it was time to go.

But then the physical issue arose, and helped change his mind. Close to obtaining his degree in management and marketing, Celek could return in 2014.

Celek hit .307 in 30 games with 24 starts, finally hitting his first career home run in a win at Tennessee. He drove in 18 runs as he was a mainstay at DH throughout the second half of the season, but ceded his spot to LB Dantzler in the NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals as Kyle Martin took over at first base.

If Celek returns, he would be the only player remaining from the team's 2010 national championship season, although he only played in nine games that year, including starting the season-opener at DH. He would be one of three players returning from the 2011 season (Patrick Harrington, Forrest Koumas) after Drake Thomason elected earlier this week to give up baseball and be a walk-on wide receiver for the Gamecocks' football team. Celek redshirted that season.



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