AL HS Team Preview: Oxford Yellow Jackets
February 13, 2023
The 2023 high school baseball season is quickly approaching and as usual, excitement abounds throughout the state. Players and coaches have been working in preparation for the upcoming season and, as is the case each year, there are some very talented players and teams across Alabama.
Teams across the state have goals and aspirations to finish their seasons in the Jacksonville/Oxford/Montgomery area at the AISA or AHSAA state championships, but there is plenty of work to be done before that becomes reality. We hope to familiarize our readers with many of the teams across the state as we preview individual teams across Alabama. We will take you right up to first pitch this season with these team previews and by continuing our scheduled podcasts and releasing our preseason Top 10 in each AHSAA classification.
Please keep checking back throughout the season as we will be your one-stop shop for everything related to high school baseball across the state. Each week we will be releasing our players of the week, updating the Top 10 in each AHSAA classification as well as a Power 25. One thing that you especially don’t want to miss are our scheduled podcasts with guests from across the state as well as recaps and previews of big games across the state.
*Please note that all information is based on team preview questionnaires that were sent out and returned by the participating high school coaches.
High School Name: Oxford Yellow Jackets
Coach’s Name: Wes Brooks
Classification: AHSAA 6A
2022 Record: 31-7
Area Number: Class 6A, Area 13
No. of Returning Positional Starters: 7
No. of Returning Pitchers: 9
Team Strengths: Consistency in all areas
Top Returning Players:
- SS/RHP Carter Johnson (Alabama, 2024)
- SS Sam Robertson (Auburn, 2023)
- 1B/LHP Hayes Harrison (Northwest Shoals CC, 2023)
- SS/RHP Peyton Watts (Troy, 2023)
Top 2023 Prospects:
- RHP Drew McCormick (Jacksonville State, 2023)
- C Caleb Thomas (2023)
- LHP Hayden Gallahar (2023)
- RHP Jackson Crow (East Mississippi CC, 2023)
- INF Caleb Robertson (2023)
- LHP/1B Trace Adams (2023)
Top 2024 Prospects:
Top 2025 & 2026 Prospects:
The Oxford Yellow Jackets come into the 2023 season with a roster that looks to be as balanced as it's been over the past few years. After reaching the Sweet 16 a season ago, hopes are high once again this spring to advance even further throughout the Class 6A playoffs.
The Yellow Jackets eclipsed the 20-win mark with ease during last year's season, which including big wins over quality programs like Mobile Christian, Pell City, Gadsden City, and others during their regular season schedule. They started their season with a 5-4 record playing against some talented teams, but really hit their stride down the stretch and finished with a 25-5 record heading into the Class 6A playoffs. After winning their area, the Yellow Jackets hosted one of the top 1st round matchups across the state against a talented Gardendale squad. They were, however, able to sweep the Rockets by scores of 1-0 and 13-3 to advance to the Sweet 16. Facing off against Hazel Green on the road, the Yellow Jackets were ultimately defeated in two games by the Trojans, who ended up reaching the Final 4, by scores of 11-3 and 2-1 to close their season at 27-7. They'll look to avenge last year's playoff loss this spring using seven positional starters and nine pitchers returning who saw time on the mound. Returning most of their offensive firepower, the Yellow Jackets have three shortstops that can play anywhere on the infield. The first of those is SS Sam Robertson (Auburn signee, 2023), who is ranked inside the Top-20 in the senior class in AL and one of the top athletes across the state. The senior right-hander has been a staple in their lineup ever since his sophomore season and will look to lead the way in his final year of his high school career.
#WarEagle recruit & ‘23 SS Sam Robertson (@ImSamRobertson; @OldGoldBB) collects his 6th hit of the day to drive in the winning run in the top of the 7th.— PBR Alabama (@PBR_Alabama) April 23, 2022
Toolsy SS that seems to have taken the next step in his development. pic.twitter.com/HF8rtiyDtw
SS Sam Robertson (4/23/22)
Another talented infielder returning for the Yellow Jackets will be SS/RHP Peyton Watts (Troy signee, 2023), who is one of the top left-handed hitters in the state. Watts, a Top-25 prospect in the senior class in AL who will also throw some innings on the mound this spring, has come up for the Yellow Jackets in some key situations over the past few years and is expected to be one of their primary leaders in the clubhouse, as well.
#Troy commit & ‘23 SS Peyton Watts (@PeytonWatts5; @OldGoldBB) gets the 1st going for the Jackets. The former #PBRFutureGames participant has continued to increase his stock over the past year. #PBRALKickoffClassic@ShooterHunt pic.twitter.com/SoDx5SrNZt— PBR Alabama (@PBR_Alabama) February 19, 2022
SS Peyton Watts (2/19/22)
There aren't many players across the state of AL that increased their stock and made such significant progress over the past six months than SS/RHP Carter Johnson (Alabama recruit, 2024). Johnson, a Top-10 prospect in the junior class in AL, is going to be a big piece for the Yellow Jackets this spring both at the plate and on the mound. Ever since being inserted into the lineup during his freshman season, the junior has been a key offensive producer and a top pitcher in the rotation, as well. Look for him to have another big year this spring.
Quickly becoming everyone’s favorite player, ‘24 SS Carter Johnson (AL) picks up his second hit of the day w/ this RBI 1B up the box.— Shooter Hunt (@ShooterHunt) July 28, 2022
Defend tool stands out almost as much as the presence on the diamond.
Gamer. #PBRFG22 || @PBR_Alabama pic.twitter.com/GIbszwAWHn
SS Carter Johnson (7/28/22)
Another senior leader that returns to this year's roster after playing an integral role on last year's team will be 1B/LHP Hayes Harrison (Northwest Shoals CC signee, 2023). Harrison is another key two-way piece for the Yellow Jackets that will once again be slated in the heart of their order this spring, while also being a key arm in their rotation.
.@PBR_Uncommitted ‘23 1B/LHP Hayes Harrison (@HayesHarrison17; @OldGoldBB) working the middle of the field w/ firm contact during BP.— PBR Alabama (@PBR_Alabama) July 25, 2022
Strong 6-0, 180 frame w/ strength throughout, short & direct to contact, line drive approach.#SESrGames pic.twitter.com/8urPfTjNMM
1B Hayes Harrison (7/25/22)
The Yellow Jackets are going to be led by a strong mix of experienced juniors and seniors this spring with some players looking to expand their roles. RHP Drew McCormick (Jacksonville State signee, 2023) has really come on as of late, and is expected to be near the top of their pitching rotation. OF RJ Brooks (2024) is one of the top uncommitted juniors in the state of AL and is looking for a breakout junior campaign, while C Caleb Thomas (2023), INF Caleb Robertson (2023), and LHP/1B Trace Adams (2023) are seniors that look poised for strong seasons. On the mound, RHP Jackson Crow (East Mississippi CC signee, 2023) and LHP Hayden Gallaher (2023) are two seniors that are expected to throw significant innings on the mound after seeing some time last spring.
.@PBR_Uncommitted ‘24 OF RJ Brooks (@RJ_Brooks7; @OldGoldBB) with three loud barrels today hitting in the middle of the order for @TopGun_Baseball.— PBR Alabama (@PBR_Alabama) July 22, 2022
Strong & athletic 6-1, 200 frame, 6.82-runner, will be with the #BamaBoys at the #PBRFG22.#PBR17UNat pic.twitter.com/jVVZyHRTNc
OF RJ Brooks (7/22/22)
Oxford looks to have one of the more deeper offensive lineups across the state with numerous players back that produced after seeing some time last spring. Some of those returning juniors to watch for this spring are C Forrest Heacock (2024), OF Tide Gann (2024), and OF Nick Richardson (2024). All three of these players are looking to compete for starting jobs and provide depth, as well.
‘25 OF Nick Richardson (@Nick_Rich5; @OldGoldBB) has a chance to be a quality prospect w/ good actions & skills.— PBR Alabama (@PBR_Alabama) May 23, 2022
Good rhythm w/ swing that works, plenty of LD’s back up the middle in his round.#ExcelScout || @ExcelBaseball pic.twitter.com/j0mUYA4L5K
OF Nick Richardson (5/23/22)
Some younger players that have a chance to make an impact at the varsity level at a young age are RHP/OF Eli Bozeman (2025), C/RHP Hudson Gilman (2025), and RHP James Tapley (2025). Bozeman and Gilman are both ranked inside the Top-15 in the sophomore class in AL, while Tapley has shown the ability to run his fastball into the mid-to-upper-80's on the mound and has a bulldog mentality.
‘25 RHP/SS Eli Bozeman (@EBozeman_03; @OldGoldBB) working all fastball’s here in his ‘pen coming off of injury but still running it up to 85 mph in the process.— PBR Alabama (@PBR_Alabama) May 22, 2022
Long & athletic frame w/ plenty of projection left.#ExcelScout pic.twitter.com/Gwt8BJF0LT
RHP Eli Bozeman (5/22/22)
C Hudson Gilman (7/27/22)
The Yellow Jackets once again look to be one of the top teams in Class 6A heading into season with plenty of talent returning both at the plate and on the mound. They will compete in Area 13 against Pell City, Gadsden City, and Fort Payne for a spot in the Class 6A playoffs at the end of the year. Look for Oxford to be one of the favorites to make a deep run throughout the playoffs in 2023.
|Madison Rising Stars ID||5/28/23||Bob Jones HS (Madison, AL)|
|Top Prospect Games: Upperclass (Invite-Only)||6/13/23||Choccolocco Park (Oxford, AL)|
|Top Prospect Games: Underclass (Invite-Only)||6/14/23||Choccolocco Park (Oxford, AL)|
|Birmingham Open||6/21/23||Spain Park HS (Birmingham, AL)|
|Birmingham Rising Stars ID||6/21/23||Spain Park HS (Birmingham, AL)|
|Montgomery Open||6/28/23||Stanhope Elmore HS (Millbrook, AL)|
|All-State Games (Invite-Only)||7/11/23||Troy University (Troy, AL)|
|Mobile Rising Stars ID||7/18/23||TBD (Mobile, AL Area)|
|South Alabama Games (Invite-Only)||7/18/23||TBD (Mobile, AL Area)|
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