Midseason Top 50 Prospects
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Owings leaves Georgia Tech for Tulane
See Also: Complete List of Transfers
By Will Kimmey
Micah Owings transferred to Tulane in a move that will give the Green Wave the nation's best one-two punch of junior two-way players when the former Georgia Tech standout joins Brian Bogusevic.
Owings chose Tulane less than a week after visiting that school as well as Texas and Arizona State.
"I took my visits and weighed a lot of options," said Owings, who added that he liked how the Tulane staff had handled two-way players such as Michael Aubrey and Bogusevic in the past. "It was more of a gut feeling. I felt like Tulane was where I wanted to be (because of) the staff and the people and the support for the team and the students at the university."
Owings said leaving Georgia Tech was difficult and declined to elaborate, other than saying he felt he needed a change after two years with the Yellow Jackets. He said he and coach Danny Hall had a "professional" discussion about his decision, and that his exit wasn't based on Tech assistant coaches Scott Stricklin and John Palmieri leaving for Kent State and Wake Forest.
"There's not one reason that stood out for why I was leaving," Owings said. "I still look back on a school and a program I love. Some of my teammates there understood and some didn't. It's tough because I was a leader there and now I was leaving."
Owings said he had contemplated transferring for much of the summer, but didn't want to take any action as he negotiated with the Cubs, who picked the draft-eligible sophomore in the 19th round after he slipped because of perceived bonus demands. He and former Georgia Tech teammate Eric Patterson flew to Chicago to watch a series and stay with Patterson's older brother Corey, the Cubs' center fielder. Patterson ended up signing; Owings didn't, and then he took the steps to transfer.
"I didn't want to say anything publicly in case we got things worked out with the Cubs; it wouldn't have mattered then, and I didn't want to get people upset," Owings said.
Owings had to act fast after making his decision, which came just two weeks before classes began at most colleges. He then set off on a three-day, three-school tour.
"It was crazy," he said. "It was basically in and out with each school. I saw the campus and stopped by the field for a while just to feel things out. Out of high school, I really only visited Alabama, Georgia Tech and Georgia. I knew if I was going to do this, I had to do it right."
Owings said he enjoyed meeting Tulane's president, Scott Cowen. They spoke for a few minutes, but Cowen's dedication left a strong impression on Owings. Once he returned from his visits, he made a few more calls to people he trusted before making the final decision. He knew Green Wave assistant Matthew Boggs, who played at Tech from 1998-2002, and some of the coaches Owings worked with in Georgia's East Cobb youth program knew Tulane coach Rick Jones from his days as a Tech assistant.
"When you start talking about high-profile transfers the last several years, you've got Mark Prior and Todd Linden and J.P. Howell, but all of those guys did just one thing," Jones said. "At a school with a $40,000 price tag and 11.7 (scholarships) and our academics, getting Micah is like getting two (players) for one."
Owings will look to achieve success similar to that of Bogusevic, a second-team All-America selection as a utility player last year. (Owings was a preseason selection.) Bogusevic, who bats and throws lefthanded, batted .339-10-68 as the team's right fielder and tied for the team lead in wins with a 9-6, 4.19 record.
Owings, a righthander, could fill the weekend rotation slot vacated by departing senior Cory Hahn. Owings also recorded nine wins last year, and his 3.83 ERA would have placed third on Tulane's staff.
He'll also add pop to the middle of the Tulane batting order. Owings' 15 home runs as a sophomore were more than any Green Wave player, and he added a .315 average and 64 RBIs as Georgia Tech's DH. Owings should also see time at first base and left field next season to stay in the lineup when Bogusevic pitches and serves as the DH.
"They can put me where ever they think I fit best," Owings said. "My hopes for the season remain the same as they did at Tech: To get to Omaha and finish as the team on top."