COTTONWOOD, Alabama — In case you don’t know him, Jonathan ‘Case’ Chalked Granger would like to introduce himself.
For starters, Granger stands at 6-foot-3 in height, good enough to occupy a swingman position on a basketball court.
Secondly, he’s a senior baseball standout for Cottonwood (Alabama) High, where he’s started varsity since he was a true freshman.
He is, by all accounts, arguably the Bears’ most durable and efficient player, considering Granger has developed a keen reputation for playing multiple positions, sometimes as many as three or, perhaps, four.
As if that isn’t enough, Granger not only deems it necessary to introduce himself but, above all, he has a forthright message to college scouts and recruiters, so pay attention.
After all, he doesn’t shy away from the notion that baseball has become a lifestyle, of sorts, for him ever since he first began playing competitively at the age of three.
“I would like for the recruiters to know that baseball is more than important to me and I can’t imagine my life without baseball being a part of it,” Granger said during a recent interview with Sports Journalist Andre Johnson. “I have a great work ethic. I’m a team player. I’ll go wherever (my coaches) needs me to go. I will study plays and strategies and know them like the back of my hand, and I will train hard so that I can be the best possible.”
To his credit, the 18-year-old Granger has emerged as the catalyst of Cottonwood coach Danny Coachman’s team, in large part because he has proven time and again that he’s willing to adjust and playing multiple position — something that in all likelihood will draw rave reviews from college coaches, coupled with his attractive size.
Add to the fact that Granger’s baseball IQ is second to none and that he is considered to be in favorable shape for a kid who boasts lofty aspirations of playing at the collegiate level, and it’s no wonder he appears destined to wear a college baseball uniform around this time next year.
In a nutshell, many who have witnessed his progress on the baseball diamond in recent years would agree that this Granger undoubtedly possess the smarts to play at the next level.
“I train everyday…it may be 30 minutes on some days, but I’m always thinking baseball,” Granger said. “I think my biggest strengths are my abilities as a pitcher. I also have a good batting average and my error percentage is very low. I spent my last two summers playing travel ball and working out.”
This year, as usual, Granger hinted that he plans to stick with the same routine, maybe tweaking his mechanics here and there.
Regardless, he knows full well that until he inks a National Letter of Intent, he must continue to make a strong case that he’s auditioning for an athletic scholarship, something that would bring huge smiles to the faces of his grandest supporters.
“When I watch Case perform, I am always nervous because I realize a lot depends on the pitcher to get the job done,” explained Pam Clayton Pylant, Granger’s mother. “But Case seems to take each game in stride…one pitch, one hit at a time. We have traveled all over Alabama and Florida going to showcases and travel ball games and enjoyed every minute of it. If Case is not playing, he is practicing.”
Something about which Granger’s family hope college scouts and recruiters will take into account in the coming weeks.
“I would love to play ball at the next level and see what God has in store for me after that,” Granger said. “I am from a small school that doesn’t get a lot of exposure. Some junior colleges have expressed interest, but nothing official yet.”
Chances are the recruiting process for this baseball prodigy is about to turn up.
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Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.