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Alcovy's Ryan Spikes chose Tennessee over handful of Power Five options
Ryan Spikes
Alcovy sophomore, Ryan Spikes is one of the nation's top high school baseball prospects. -Submitted Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. — Alcovy sophomore baseball standout, Ryan Spikes is Tennessee bound. 

Spikes took to Twitter Monday night to declare his decision to commit to the Tennessee Volunteers baseball program, following an eye-popping freshman campaign at Alcovy which gave way to a next-level offseason where he spent the summer as part of the USA 15u National Baseball Team. 

Spikes said he received the offer from the Vols back in the summer, right before the beginning of travel season. And although he heard overtures from other schools, such as Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Georgia State, Arkansas and San Diego State, Spikes said his visit to Knoxville just made the program stand out among the rest. 

“I looked at UT during the summer, went there, thought about it, visited a few other schools and all that,” Spikes said. “But I just felt that I bonded better with the coaches (at Tennessee), and the environment was pretty unbeatable.” 

Also hard to top was the fact that Spikes said Tennessee was offering an athletic scholarship that would pay 75 percent of his academic costs — something he said was more substantial than anything else he’d been presented with. 

Spikes, a sophomore at Alcovy, came on to the high school baseball season as a freshman with already-high expectations, and he didn’t disappoint. 

He recorded a .324 batting average with seven doubles, a triple and 16 RBIs with a home run during his freshman season at Alcovy. He also is credited with three of Alcovy’s five wins on the mound, while tossing 45 strikeouts in 32 innings of work. 

He said a lot of the attention from college scouts started showing up then. But it also ratcheted it up to another level when he was selected to play for the USA 15u squad. 

“After my freshman season, I received a little bit,” he said. “But after the USA team, a whole bunch of coaches were contacting me and I was contacting them. They were showing me interest from then on.” 

It probably didn’t hurt that Spikes also had a stellar summer season with his travel ball team, Team Elite where, as a pitcher, he tallied a 3-0 record on the mound with a 0.60 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched, then hit for a .344 average at the plate with six triples, 19 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. 

 Although he still has three years of high school baseball to play, Spikes said he was never pressured by anyone to make an early college decision. 

“Everybody was telling me to go along with my gut, and to just make sure I like the school that presents the best possible situation for me to grow as a man, both in my athletic life and in my career as well,” he said. “My parents told me they’d be sticking by me with whatever decision I make.” 

Although he has plenty of time to make a final choice, Spikes said he likes the idea of majoring in business at UT. 

“I like to lead people,” he said. “I like the idea of telling people what to do and how to put themselves in right positions to be successful. I think that’s just something that fits my personality.” 

With his level of talent, Spikes knows that there’s a possibility that he may never touch the field at Tennessee, if the major leagues comes calling. He makes no bones about wanting a career in the pros, but he also isn’t just tossing away the prospects of being a collegiate standout. 

“A college and pro career is definitely something I want in my future,” he said. “If I have the blessing to be able to get drafted earlier out of high school, I’d probably go professional. But if not, I’m content with knowing I’ve chosen a great school to get me where I want to be athletically and in life.” 

Spikes will headline a talented Alcovy squad with new coach Jimmy Hughes when the 2019 baseball season kicks off in February. And now that he’s got a college decision tucked away for the time being, he said he’s excited about focusing on helping build a winning program at Alcovy. 

“I would really like to help rally my team around me and help us get better,” Spikes said. “I think me having an offer and accepting a scholarship to a place like that, it can show that you can do something great athletically at Alcovy, and that it’s not just the typical thing where people say Alcovy isn’t good in sports. I want people to see you can come here and achieve your dreams.” 

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Check back with through the week for more on Spikes’ commitment.