Nearly two years after first giving his verbal commitment, Gordon Lee's Jake Poindexter officially signed his letter of intent to continue his baseball career at the University of Georgia this past Monday.
"It hasn't really felt real," he said of the past 23 months. "But when you put your name on that piece of paper, it finally feels real. I'm just blessed to be in this situation."
Poindexter has been a mainstay on the mound for the Trojans since his freshman season when he went 7-1 on the hill and led the team in both strikeouts (52) and innings pitched (50). He walked just 19 hitters and finished with a 2.52 ERA to earn a second team All-State nod.
As a sophomore in 2019, he compiled an 8-1 record and a 2.20 ERA in 57.1 innings of work. He walked 18 batters and struck out 82, including a career-high 15 in a memorable playoff win over Jenkins County.
He again went on to earn All-State second team honors that season as Gordon Lee won the Region 6-A title and a second straight Class A Public School state championship. He was also tabbed as the 2019 Walker County Co-Pitcher of the Year with former teammate Jake Wright, who is now at Carson-Newman.
The 2020 campaign saw the Trojans go 6-2 before the season came to an abrupt end in mid-March due to COVID-19.
"When he came in as a freshman, he was good," head coach Mike Dunfee began. "But he made his mind up early that his goal was to go play some big-time ball somewhere. You look at him now and he's about 180-185 (pounds). He's worked his tail off in the weight room to get his body right to get to where he wanted to go.
"It's been fun to watch him say 'this is my goal and I'm sticking with it'. He's just a competitor and I love watching him on the mound for us."
The signing also continued a recent trend of Gordon Lee players joining the Bulldogs. Chaney Rogers is currently playing for the Red-and-Black, while Poindexter's cousin, Tucker Bradley, also played for Georgia before signing a free agent contract with the Kansas City Royals over the summer.
Poindexter said he had been talking to both Rogers and Bradley about their experiences at UGA, adding that he had also spoken with Heritage alum Cole Wilcox, who was a third round draft pick of the San Diego Padres this summer and signed with the big league club after three seasons with the Georgia program.
"They just talked to me about playing in the SEC and how to adjust to the game speed," Poindexter said. "They've all been awesome and, of course, having Tucker as part of my family has been great throughout the process, from recruiting to me finally picking Georgia.
"He's just been telling me all about the program and what to expect, so I feel like once I get there, I'll have a pretty good idea of what's going on."
The right-hander, who hit 92 mph on the radar gun with his travel team over the summer, vowed to bring his work ethic with him to Athens.
"(Georgia) is going to get a guy that's going to compete, day in and day out," he said. "I work hard and I'm going to give it my all."
Dunfee said that if Poindexter continues to work hard, especially in the weight room, he'll have a chance to contribute early.
"It just depends on what kind of recruiting class they bring in and where everybody stands," the coach explained. "He may have to prove himself the way he did when he came to us here at Gordon Lee. Early on (in his freshman year), I thought he'd be a middle reliever, but after watching him a few times, I knew he was going to end up being one of our starters.
"I think it'll be a similar situation when he goes to Georgia. He'll have to go in there and prove himself, but with his competitiveness and his work ethic, he'll get to where he needs to be."
Dunfee added that the Bulldogs were getting a player with a passion for the game.
"He's 1,000 percent a baseball guy," Dunfee said. "He's knowledgeable and loves it. Even when he's not pitching, he's into the game, helping our guys and talking to them. The main thing, though, is that he's just highly competitive and that's what you want. You want a bunch of dudes that want to compete against the best of the best and that's what he is."
Poindexter said he is undecided on a major, but was leaning towards something in sports.