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Owings Leads List Of Returning All-Americans

By Will Kimmey
August 23, 2004

Four 2004 preseason All Americans selected in the June draft appear headed back to college for another year, and a fifth could join them.

Outfielders Jeff Larish (Arizona State), Justin Maxwell (Maryland) and Jeremy Slayden (Georgia Tech) all announced their intentions to return to school. Georgia Tech second baseman Eric Patterson was still weighing his options of returning for his senior year or signing with the Cubs as their eighth-round pick. He had yet to attend class and was expected to sign.

The biggest news came from two-way prospect Micah Owings. The righthander/DH will return to school, but not Georgia Tech. He plans to transfer and made visits to Arizona State on Saturday, Texas on Sunday and was scheduled for Tulane on Monday.

"Micah Owings has asked for and been granted his release," Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall said. "We thank him for two good years at Georgia Tech and we wish him the best of luck."

Georgia Tech said Hall would not comment further on Owings, who hit .318-15-64 and went 9-3, 3.83 for the Yellow Jackets as a draft-eligible sophomore. He was rated a second-round talent but fell to the Cubs in the 19th round because of bonus demands in the neighborhood of $1 million. Owings, a first-team All-Freshman choice in 2003, did not sign with the Rockies as a second-round pick out of high school in 2002.

Cubs scouting director John Stockstill said Monday the organization was still negotiating with both Owings and Patterson.

Injuries sidetracked the draft years of Maxwell and Slayden; both will return as redshirt juniors. Maxwell broke a bone in his arm and never played for the Terrapins. The Rangers selected him in 10th round and followed him through the Cape Cod League, where his time was again cut short by injury, this time to his wrist.

Slayden played nine games for Tech before having shoulder surgery. He neglected to sign with the Athletics, who chose him in the 18th round. He hit .286-1-8 in 35 at-bats and had a banner freshman season in 2002, hitting 348-18-66.

A wrist injury also played a role in Larish's .308-7-49 season. He hit 18 homers as a sophomore and rated as the top college hitter heading into the season after leading Team USA with eight home runs last summer. However, he slumped this spring and fell to the Dodgers in the 13th round. Larish had minor wrist surgery this summer and will return for his senior year after spurning the Dodgers' last-minute run at him Saturday.

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