Austin Case signed scholarship papers Tuesday to continue his career at Furman University, becoming Baylor's first NCAA Division I lacrosse signee.
Furman hired renowned coach Richie Meade last May and will be fielding a varsity lacrosse program for the first time during the 2014-15 school year in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Case said he took a fall visit to the campus in Greenville, S.C.
"The campus is so nice," Case said. "I felt like it was the right place. It's a small school; they have a new lacrosse program; they have a great coach. It seems like the right fit."
Case was playing baseball at Baylor but gave that up to pursue playing lacrosse in seventh grade because some of his friends were giving it a try. He was a wide receiver and safety in football, which he played through his sophomore year.
"I just felt the right thing to do was to focus on lacrosse and get better at that," Case said.
He is a defender who as a junior collected 55 ground balls, leading the team in ground balls per game, despite missing the last five games with a leg injury. He also had six interceptions and 13 takeaways.
Case suffered a fractured jaw halfway through the first game this season. Coach Jon Bloom said Case has been back for the last five, the last four at full speed, and has been a key reason the Red Raiders are on a six-game winning streak.
Case has 12 ground balls and two interceptions this year and is second on the team with 10 takeaways.
"They're getting a good one," Bloom said of the Paladins. "They're getting someone who enjoys the sport. He wants to get better and does things to get better over time. He's very good at ground balls. He's really good at team defense. He's good at on-ball defense, and he's an exceptional off-ball defender."
Jump to Wittenburg
Baylor's Max Jump signed Tuesday to continue his lacrosse career at Division III member Wittenburg University.
Jump and his brother, junior Ian Jump, have dealt with some injury issues this year, but their return to the lineup has been instrumental in Baylor winning its last six games.
Max Jump is in his second season as a Red Raiders captain. Last year he led them in points with 14 goals and 14 assists. Through six games this season he already has 13 goals and six assists.
"He's another really good character kid," Bloom said. "He'll do anything you ask. He's really good at cutting offensively and going to the goal."
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.