The prospect of starting a pro career now wound up being too much for Carl Albert High School catcher Taylor Hawkins to turn down.
Hawkins, an Oklahoma signee and 12th-round draft pick of the Rays, has decided to sign with Tampa Bay. Hawkins announced his decision to his Oklahoma Outlaws teammates Thursday night.
He said Outlaws coach Doug Weese has been a big influence on his progression as a player.
“He's probably believed in me the most and helped me more than any other coach has,” Hawkins said. “He helped me the last four years to become who I am right now.”
Hawkins will fly to Tampa, Fla., on Sunday for a Monday physical before officially signing.
“I'm pretty excited right now because that's all I've ever wanted to do,” Hawkins said. “I'm kind of speechless still.”
Hawkins was The Oklahoman's All-State and Big All-City player of the year, hitting 28 home runs and leading his team to the Class 5A title.
He's also been named to numerous All-America teams, most recently by USA Today.
Hawkins said his career would likely begin with the Princeton (W.Va.) Rays of the Appalachian League.
Hawkins said he spoke to Sooners coach Sunny Golloway about his decision.