UK Baseball

‘I’m just glad to be a Wildcat again.’ UK adding junior-college transfer from Lexington.

Former Tates Creek High standout Jaren Shelby batted .284 with a team-high seven home runs for State College of Florida last season. He was second on the team with 39 RBI and 12 steals. Shelby will have two years of eligibility at UK starting in 2019.
Former Tates Creek High standout Jaren Shelby batted .284 with a team-high seven home runs for State College of Florida last season. He was second on the team with 39 RBI and 12 steals. Shelby will have two years of eligibility at UK starting in 2019.

Jaren Shelby, a former baseball and football star at Tates Creek High School, will enroll at the University of Kentucky in the fall and play for the school’s baseball program beginning in the 2019 season.

Shelby, an outfielder who currently plays at State College of Florida, announced the news Thursday night on Twitter.

The 2016 Lexington All-City Player of the Year hit .378 and had 12 home runs in his senior season. He was originally committed to UK but ended up enrolling in the Bradenton junior college, where he will play this spring before moving back home.

As a freshman in Bradenton, Shelby batted .284 with a team-high seven home runs in 215 at-bats (second-most on the team). He also was second on the team with 39 RBI and 12 steals.

“It was the place I needed to be at and I feel like I’ve made the right decision,” Shelby said in a phone interview. “ … I had to find myself a little bit. Not necessarily to get away, but just to mature in myself and become a player, and more to become a better person and a better individual.”

He looks to continue that personal growth at UK.

“There are very intelligent coaches over there and they know what they’re doing,” Shelby said. “They know how to improve players not only on the field but off the field as well. I’d love to be a part of that and I’m just glad to be a Wildcat again, to be honest.”

Kentucky players Riley Mahan and Evan White talk to media after Saturday's 6-2 loss to Louisville ended UK's season.

John Shelby III, one of Jaren’s older brothers, played for UK and was a fifth-round MLB Draft pick. John Shelby Jr., their dad, played 11 seasons in the big leagues and won World Series titles with the Baltimore Orioles (1983) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1988).

Jaren is excited to continue adding to the family legacy and be part of the program he grew up rooting for; he enjoyed watching from afar the team’s banner year under rookie head coach Nick Mingione in 2017.

“If I had a chance I’d be on my phone with the WatchESPN app and I was keeping up with ’em all the time,” Jaren said. “I was one of their number one fans. It was amazing to just watch the success they had.”

He looks forward to being back around his high school program, too.

“When the fall comes around I’ll be right at home. I’ll probably be working out at Tates Creek all the time,” he said. “ … We never lose touch with Tates Creek, that’s the best school in the state.”

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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