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Lowndes High center fielder Cole Fuller signs a letter of intent with Florida Community College in the LHS baseball fieldhouse. Pictured left to right front row: Wesley Fuller, father, Cole Fuller and Melody Fuller, mother. Back row left to right: Garrett Fuller, brother, LHS coach Jay Eason, LHS coach Ryan Page, Florida Community College head coach Chris Blaquiere, LHS head coach Danny Redshaw and coach Joe Mederos.

VALDOSTA — Lowndes High center fielder Cole Fuller has signed a letter of intent to play baseball for Florida Community College in Jacksonville next year.

Fuller looks forward to playing for a program with a history of developing players and sending them on to the next level.

“I’m real excited. I’m looking forward to getting down there and playing,” Fuller said.

"He's a great kid," Lowndes head coach Danny Redshaw said. "He's hard-working. He's very coachable. He has all the tools to play at the next level. He's just going to get better and better. That's a great program he's going to at FCCJ, with Coach Blaquiere."

Fuller was a key member of a Lowndes team that won the Region 1-AAAAA championship and made it to the state quarterfinals in 2009. This season, he batted .323 with one home run and 25 RBIs. He also scored 24 runs and stole 11 bases. He batted cleanup for the Vikings most of the season.

The Vikings were determined to get back in the playoffs this year, after missing the postseason in 2008. Not only did they get back to the playoffs, they also won the region championship. Fuller was one of the team's best players, both at the plate and in center field.

"He really elevated his game, worked harder in the offseason, and continued to get better," Redshaw said. "When you've got the tools that he's got and the work ethic, it's going to pay off, and it has."

"I just worked hard in the offseason, hitting in the cages, taking fly balls. I worked at it, and it paid off," Fuller said. "I've been pretty happy with (this season). It's been a real fun year. The team came together and won the region, and made the playoffs."

Redshaw says Fuller is a solid all-around ballplayer. Speed is one of his biggest assets. He covers a lot of ground in center field, and is also a threat to steal when he’s on the bases.

"He's just a solid part of our team," Redshaw said. "He hits in the middle of the order, plays center field. He's kind of a quiet leader. He's pretty solid (defensively). He's got a plus arm in the outfield. He's just one of the pieces of the puzzle, and he goes out and does his job. We'll certainly miss him next year, but we're glad we have him this year."

As well as Fuller played this season, his coach feels he could be an even better player in college.

"I don't think you've seen the best of him at all," Redshaw said. "Since February, from week to week, you can see him getting better."

Several schools showed interest in Fuller, but he felt like FCCJ was his best choice. He wanted to go to college in a big city, and more importantly, he wanted to go to a good baseball program. At FCCJ, he'll be doing both.

"Coach (Ryan) Page (who played two years for FCCJ) took me on a visit down there, and I liked the coaches and the atmosphere, and their facilities," Fuller said.

Going to a junior college will give Fuller a chance to compete for playing time immediately.

"I wanted to (go to a junior college) my first two years, to get playing time," he said. "I would like to play two years there, and try to move on to a four-year school."

Fuller is also an excellent student. He owns a 3.8 GPA and is graduating with honors. He plans to major in business in college.

FCCJ head coach Chris Blaquiere knows the Valdosta area, having played baseball for Valdosta State from 1983-86. The last time Blaquiere signed a Lowndes player, it was pitcher Jon Michael Redding, who wound up becoming the Mid-Florida Conference Pitcher of the Year, then was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fuller is glad to have played for Lowndes High, a program that has had a lot of success the past decade.

"I've loved it. I wouldn't want to play for any other school. I like it here," he said.

"I'm proud of him," Redshaw said. "I'm glad he's a Viking, and I'm glad he's getting the opportunity to go off and play college baseball. He'll do well in life."

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