Hoffpauir to play for USM

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 9, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – For the past several years, the name Hoffpauir has been synonymous with Vidalia baseball.

Soon, the Hoffpauir name will be similarly associated with the University of Southern Mississippi.

Vikings stand-out infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir signed a letter of intent this week to play for the Golden Eagles, following in the footsteps of his older brother Josh.

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&uot;It was a tough decision,&uot; said the highly-recruited younger Hoffpauir. &uot;I knew it would determine a large part of my life, and I wanted to choose the right school. I think I did.&uot;

&uot;He had three great offers from three great schools,&uot; said Jarrett’s coach and father, Johnny Lee Hoffpauir. &uot;Mississippi State has probably the best facilities in the nation.

&uot;McNeese has an up-and-coming program, and it’s getting better,&uot; he said.

But Southern Miss was more familiar and more comfortable, coach Hoffpauir said.

&uot;Southern Miss has a great program, and we know most of the coaches through Josh,&uot; he said. &uot;They’re real player coaches. They relate well with their players. That’s what Jarrett is used to here at Vidalia.&uot;

Jarrett said his meetings with head coach Corky Palmer and assistants Dan Wagner and Lane Burroughs were determining factors in his decision, as was his relationship with his brother.

&uot;Every time I went up there and saw (Josh) play, I knew what I wanted to do,&uot; he said. &uot;I wanted to do what he was doing.&uot;

And that hasn’t changed. Josh is currently working toward a degree at Southern Miss but will leave after the current semester to begin spring training with the Oakland A’s.

&uot;Jarrett’s brother has had a tremendous influence on him. They’re very close,&uot; coach Hoffpauir said. &uot;But the decision was his to make.&uot;

And Jarrett was happy to get it out of the way. &uot;I just wanted to get it off my chest,&uot; he said.

Jarrett can now focus on a senior season with a Vikings squad that will need his leadership.

&uot;We lot six starters from last year’s team,&uot; coach Hoffpauir said. &uot;This year, (Jarrett) will have to take a leadership role.&uot;

And even though his immediate future is decided, Hoffpauir plans to take advantage of his senior year to hone his skills and increase his strength.

&uot;There’s always room for improvement,&uot; he said.

But not terribly much in Jarrett’s case. He was named First-Team All-State by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association last year and to the Coaches’ All-State First Team in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

He finished the 2000 season with a .519 batting average, and has led the Vikings in batting for the three years he has started.