Even after Thursday afternoon, there’s still, some unfinished business for Colby May. It will, however, have to wait for a few more months.
The South Effingham High School senior shortstop signed a letter of intent with the University of Georgia in the SEHS auxiliary gym, joined by family, teammates, coaches and teachers current and past.
“It feels really exciting,” May said after greeting a steady stream of well-wishers. “Anything could have happened before now. It’s just a relief to get it over with and sign it.
“God has everything in a plan,” he said.
As a junior, May hit .337 with a .584 slugging percentage. He hit four homers, 10 doubles, drove in 16 runs and had 30 hits. He also served as the Mustangs’ primary closer down the stretch.
“It speaks for itself,” Mustangs coach Tony Kirkland said of the signing. “He’s an outstanding young man and an outstanding player. It’s a great opportunity.”
May got an endorsement from former teammate Josh Reddick, now a prospect in the Boston Red Sox chain.
At Georgia (23-33 in 2007), May is expected to play second or third base and could play shortstop soon, especially if junior Gordon Beckham is taken in June’s first-year player draft. Beckham is considered by Baseball America to be one of the top 30 pre-draft prospects in the nation.
May is the 12th Mustang to sign a college scholarship, and the third to sign with a Division I program, since Kirkland took over. He’s the first to sign with a school from one of the power conference.
“To have a kid sign with Georgia, an SEC school, it’s kind of special,” he said. “I’m blessed, blessed to be in a program that’s got kids who can play and for them it’s nice to have the opportunity to play at the next level.”
What’s next for May might not be Georgia after all. He’s met with a major-league scout and will be followed this spring by the pros during his senior season.
May also played this summer with Team Georgia, joining forces with some of his future Bulldogs teammates and took his first plane ride with the trip to Oklahoma. Players were housed with host families and the family he stayed with reminded him of his own parents.
“You play against the best of the best,” he said. “I feel I did pretty well.”
What has made May an SEC-caliber player and a potential draft pick next June is his character and his hard work, according to Kirkland.
“He is a fantastic young man,” he said. “He does things the right way. And there are still rewards for people who do things the right way.”
There is also a pay off for hard work, too. May is known for hitting bucket after bucket of baseballs off the tee in the hitting tunnel before practice and then staying well after practice to repeat the process.
“After everyone’s gone, he’s still working,” Kirkland said. “That comes from the heart and from inside and from not being afraid to work.”
Said May: “I enjoy working hard, and God has blessed me. I never knew it would pay off like this.”
But May and his fellow seniors still have one thing left to accomplish before their final high school game — making it to the last game. South Effingham has been to three semifinals in four years. Structured and supervised practices aren’t allowed, but the Mustangs players are working out on their own.
“They talk about it every day,” Kirkland said. “I literally have to lock them out of the fieldhouse every day. They’re ready to go right now.”
Before the start of the high school season in March and whatever his future is, May intends to put in even more work — “hitting off-speed pitches, working on my speed and working on pitching for my closer spot this year.”
There’s still that one goal left to put up on the wall of the Mustangs’ batting cage.
“We lost a lot of good, talented seniors,” May said. “But we’ve got a lot of good juniors and seniors coming up. I’m excited.
“We’ve had some awesome talent come through this school,” he said. “I just want to have fun my senior year.”