Baseball Player of the Year
Drew Waters, Etowah
Achievements: Waters batted .510 (53-of-104) with 15 home runs, four triples and 13 doubles while leading Etowah to its first state championship in baseball. In 14 state-playoff games, Waters was 21-for-40 (.525) with five home runs, 13 extra-base hits, 16 walks, 15 runs scored and 17 RBIs. Waters is rated the No. 11 recruit nationally by Perfect Game and No. 33 by Baseball America. He is projected by many as a first-round pick in the June MLB Draft.
Position: Center fielder
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 192 pounds
College choice: Signed with Georgia
Why you picked Georgia: I picked the University of Georgia, one, because my brother was a baseball player there, and two, my sister was a soccer player there who just graduated. So there’s a family connection. And I wanted to go to a program that had a history behind it. I also wanted to play for the best team in the state of Georgia.
Best high school moment: It was last year in the first round of the playoffs. Two years ago, we were in the elite eight and got swept by Parkview. They’re always a very strong program. Last year, we went over to Parkview in the first round and we swept them. They were the defending national champions. The fact that we went over there and beat them was a huge deal. (Waters answered shortly before Etowah claimed the Class AAAAAAA championship.)
Why baseball: I grew up playing some football. My dad was a football player at Georgia Tech. But my brother was always a big baseball player, and I always followed around my brother at the ballpark and was there all the time. I fell in love with the game. I knew long-term that I wanted to be a baseball player.
What you’d like to be doing in 10 years: I’d like to be leading whatever professional team that I’m a part of to the World Series. Everyone’s dream is winning the World Series.
Favorite high school course: Probably math. I’m a huge numbers guy, and it’s always been my best subject.
People who helped along the way: Definitely my brother and dad. They were the ones that got me to switch hit when I was younger. And then once I reached the age of 16 and I committed to the University of Georgia, I started hitting with a guy named Jay Hood, and he was part of my success. We worked more on hitting gap to gap shots and turning gap shots into home runs. What he’s done to my swing in the past two years has been reflected in the past year in particular. He’s been a huge part of my success, especially on the offensive side.
Toughest high school opponent: Team-wise, definitely Parkview just because they’re so sound all-around. One to nine, every single one can hit, and they play very good defense, and they usually have one or two (Division I) arms that can throw. The toughest pitcher I’ve faced is probably Brant Hurter of Woodstock. He’s 6-6 and long to the plate. He can run it up to 92, 94 mph, and it looks harder than that because he’s throwing from 54 feet because of how tall he is. He throws a curve, fastball and change. It’s tough to hit when he can locate all three.
Favorite movie: “Fast and Furious.” It’s a high-action movie, and I’m a high-action guy. I’m a big car guy too. And they’ve got a lot of cool cars in that movie. That always grabs my attention, racing cars around and all the crazy events they pull off.
Favorite song: “Record Year” by Eric Church. I heard it for the first time this past summer, and that’s really when I started getting a ton of national notice, and to me, this past year was my record year. I actually use it as my walk-up song at Petco Park at the Perfect Game All-American Classic.
Worst high school moment: Honestly, I don’t have too many bad high school moments. I learned to forget about the past and move on, so most of the bad things that happened I have a short-term memory about and embrace all the good things that happen. So I really didn’t have one.
If you could be any other athlete on earth: LeBron James. He seems to be in finals of the NBA every year. To have that type of accomplishment and recognition next to your name, that’s one of the coolest things you could possibly experience.
Money or happiness: I personally believe happiness because I’ve seen what money can do to people. Money can be as bad to you as good to you. And I’ve seen a lot of people be happy and not have money at all. It’s all how you look at life.’
Best word to describe yourself: I would say high-energy. Even in my regular life, I’m rarely sitting down. I’m always doing something whether it’s playing baseball or helping in the community. And if you watch me play, it’s rare for me to stay at a base for longer than a pitch or two. I’m always looking to make a play.
View of the world at this moment: I think everyone has their own opinion. I think our world right now is great. It’s all what you make of it. If you look at bad things, you’ll think it’s bad. You have to look past that to the things you have.
What you would put in a time capsule: That’s a tough one. I would probably make a book of all the memories I’d had throughout my life and probably put a note in there to my future wife and kids just so they’d have the perspective of life that I had in high school. I think it would be cool to have a letter from me as an 18-year-old boy. I’d probably say make the most of life, that it goes quicker than most people expect. Live your days with happiness and look past the bad things because more often than not, somebody’s going to have a worse day than you. Be blessed with what God gave you.