JACKSBORO—On Wednesday evening, Bo Farris’ dream came true.
The Campbell County catcher signed with Carson-Newman University under head coach Tom Griffin.
“I started going there my freshman year,” Farris said. “They had a catching camp, and that’s when I met Coach Griffin for the first time. We’ve stayed in touch throughout high school, and he’s watched me. He came up here for a visit, and that’s when they offered me.”
For Farris, the experience was well worth it.
The senior had committed to Pikeville earlier this season, but pulled his commitment when Griffin offered him a position with the Eagles.
“It was awesome,” Farris said. “That was my dream school. I always wanted to go to Carson Newman since the first time I walked on campus there. It was awesome.
“I was committed to Pikeville during the season. I just rushed into it, and it was too far away. I felt Carson Newman was more like home.”
Farris said he’s going in as catcher, but the position may already be crowded.
According to Campbell County head coach Ryan Browning, Griffin is a good coach for Farris.
“I think it’s a great fit for Bo,” Browning said. “Coach Griffin is one of the best in the South, not just here in Tennessee or East Tennessee, but the South, for catchers…Bo works hard, and I think he can really blossom under Coach Griffin there at Carson Newman.”
However, according to Farris, he’s one of four freshman catchers coming into the lineup.
There are already two sophomores in the depth chart as well.
With speed, hitting ability and versatility, Browning says Farris is what every college coach is looking for.
“What’s a good thing about Bo is his attitude,” the Campbell County coach said. “You can move him around. He can play third. He’s a good enough athlete that he can play more things. When you get into college, the more versatile you are, it’s like bringing in three players in one. College coaches love that.”
For Farris, becoming the sixth catcher for the Eagles isn’t a bad thing.
He knows he can move around, but behind the plate is where he’d rather stay.
“I can see myself going to the outfield, since I’ve got some speed,” Farris said. “I’m going in as a catcher, though.”
Being a talented catcher is a good thing, but for the Cougars, there’s a big hole left in the lineup.
Throughout the past two seasons, Farris amassed a 0.343 batting average while being hit-by-pitch on 14 different times, nine of those coming in 2013.
“When I play, I try to play reckless. I don’t really care what happens or when it happens. That’s how I’m going in. I’m going to play college just like I did high school, but it’s just a little more intense.”
Farris caught 95 percent of the games during the 2013 season, while amassing a 0.348 batting average. He also added 19 runs, while punching in 11 RBIs in seven doubles and two triples.
“Good catching is like a good point guard,” Browning said. “You don’t appreciate it until you don’t have one. It’s big shoes to fill. Sometimes, when you get to high school, you have some guys that can catch, but they can’t hit. Bo could hit and run, and he pitched 22 innings for us on the mound.”
With Logan Orick ascending the depth charts during summer ball, as well as Farris’ younger brother Max coming in as a freshman, the team is hopeful they can continue what Farris started.
However, Browning knows it’s a big role to fill.
“That’s big shoes for any of our young guys to fill,” Browning said. “He was a good mentor and willing to help them. Hopefully, they can live up to what Bo’s done.”
For Farris, however, it’s not his last trip to Campbell County.
Choosing to go to Carson-Newman put him closer to home, thus leaving him the ability to watch his alma mater play baseball.
“Oh yea, I’ll be back to watch the guys,” he said with a laugh. “I might coach a little, too."