ADEL -- Kyle Goff has had a career that rivals few prep baseball players.
He was the winning pitcher when Cook won the state championship in 2000. He's one of the winningest pitchers in Hornet history. He's been a two-time All-Region and All-Area honoree. He's got a 1.05 ERA for his career, and a .435 career batting average. This spring, he will be an All-State candidate for the third straight year.
And now he'll be the latest in a long line of Cook High baseball players to move on to college.
Goff, Cook's star left-handed pitcher, signed a baseball scholarship to Georgia Southern Tuesday afternoon.
"It's always been a dream of mine to play baseball in college," Goff said. "I've played baseball almost all my life, and now I'm excited about playing for Georgia Southern."
The Eagles will be getting one of the state's best prep left-handers, one that has lost just six games in three years of high school baseball. Georgia Southern has been following Goff since he was striking out hitters as a freshman. The Eagles coaches like his 89 mph fastball and three offspeed pitches.
"Kyle's a competitor," Cook head coach Bob Owsley said. "He goes out there to win, and battles you. When he's on the hill, our defense falls into place. He generates confidence, that the job's going to get done when he's pitching. He's been a force on the mound and at the plate."
Goff is a four-year starter at Cook. He first put on a black-and-gold Hornet jersey as a freshman. Once he reached varsity, he was there to stay. Goff went on to go 7-2 that season, and become Cook's No. 2 starter, behind AA state Player of the Year Daniel Dukes.
That May, Cook reached the finals of the state playoffs, against Eastside. After winning the first game, Cook gave the ball to its freshman southpaw, and Goff came through, as Cook won 8-5 and became state champions.
"We had a good team that year, and it was great to win state," Goff said.
"Kyle's thrown some big games, and held his own," Owsley said. "The sky's the limit for him, as far as pitching, and doing something with his life."
Goff followed that up with an 11-1 season in 2001, going undefeated until the state semifinals. Last year, an injury sidelined Goff early, but he came back to earn another All-Region selection. He's also been recognized as a All-Area player three times by both The Valdosta Daily Times and The Tifton Gazette.
Last summer, Goff pitched in a league that included the summer league powerhouse East Cobb Yankees, and several other top-notch summer teams, and went 7-0, the team's first-ever undefeated pitcher.
And now, he's signed with an excellent college program. The Eagles made the College World Series a few years ago, and last year they had six players taken in the major league draft, more than Georgia and Georgia Tech combined.
"They said I would pitch as a freshman, which I liked," Goff said. "I want to get out there and pitch right away."
Goff will be reunited with another ex-Cook star in Statesboro, catcher/outfielder James Payne, as well as two former Dixie baseball teammates that also just signed, Rhett Barber of Clinch County and Brandon Ponder of Lowndes. He hopes to help Georgia Southern get back to Omaha.
But now that he's signed, Goff is turning his attention to another goal.
"I want to win state again," Goff said. "I want to go out with a state championship."