Preseason Power 25 Countdown: No. 3 Houston County

Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

The Georgia High School Association has announced that opening day of the 2020 season will commence on Feb. 10. Programs were allowed to begin practicing in an official capacity on Jan. 13, meaning it's time for the PBR Georgia staff to break down the high school baseball scene in the state in the countdown to the first pitch thrown in 2019.Over the next several weeks, leading up to opening day, we will be publishing our team previews ahead of the 2019 spring season, touching on programs spanning multiple state classifications, counting down the official PBR Georgia Preseason Power 25 Rankings.

Our Preseason Power 25 rankings coverage starts today.

Team: Houston County
Preseason Rank:
2019 Record:
Region: 1-6A 
2019 Region Finish: 1st
GHSA Classification: 6A
Head Coach: Matt Hopkins
Playoff Run: Quarterfinals
Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 5

KEy Players Lost
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Cameron Jones GA Houston County 2019 OF/LHP Georgia State 
TOP Players
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Jaden Woods GA Houston County 2020 LHP/OF Georgia
Jacob Profit GA Houston County 2020 INF Reinhardt
Jeremy White GA Houston County 2020 C  
Coleman Willis GA Houston County 2021 1B/RHP Georgia
Trent Ringer GA Houston County 2021 MIF/RHP  
Top Newcomers
Name State School Class Pos Commitment
Brodie Chestnutt GA Houston County 2021 RHP/CIF Florida State
Treyson Hughes GA Houston County 2021 OF West Virginia
Gage Harrelson GA Houston County 2022 OF/LHP  
Drew Burress GA Houston County 2023 OF/3B  
Andrew Dunford GA Houston County 2023 1B/RHP  

Underclassmen gaining experience. Coach Matt Hopkins has a depth of talent in his juniors and seniors, but he will be need his newcomers to step in and fill key positions in the lineup. the player who may have the greatest impact will be OF/3B Drew Burress (2023). Burress is already widely regarded as one of the best hitters in his class, coming in as the No.5-ranked 2023 in Georgia and No. 30-ranked in the country. There has not been a setting or velocity that Burress cannot handle. He is a pure hitter, and hitters hit. His advanced hand-eye coordination and feel for the barrel will, without a doubt, play for the next four years and at a high level at future stages of his career. Look for him to have an immediate impact at the varsity level.

Joining Burress will be two prospects who got a really good look at last month at the Underclass Invitational: OF/LHP Gage Harrelson (2022) and 1B/RHP Andrew Dunford (2023). Harrelson is a projectable 6-foot-2, 165-pounds who shows athleticism in just about everything he does. Offensively, he has feel for the barrel, creating leverage with a quick swing. As he continues to fill out and mature more strength and power will come, allowing him to really work the gaps and drive the ball with even more force than he already does.

Gage Harrelson

It is almost impossible to believe that Dunford is just a freshman, standing 6-foot-6, 195-pounds, but you best believe it. Dunford uses his long levers and lower half incredibly well to generate force at thep late with a gap-to-gap approach. Back at the Underclass Invitational he had the event high in exit velocity at 93 mph. The swing plays just as well in-game, where he have seen him hammer baseballs with a flat barrel path.

Andrew Dunford

Teams will be in store for a big surprise when they come up against these young, yet mature underclassmen at the plate. 


Pitching will be the true strength of Houston County with multiple starters who could fit the profile of staff ace. Two of the state's top left-handed pitchers return to lead the charge: LHP/OF Jaden Woods (2020; Georgia) and LHP Coleman Willis (2021; Georgia). Woods was one of 6A's top pitchers, putting up ridiculous numbers, 9-2 record and a 1.18 ERA. Originally committed to Georgia State His spring propelled him into the summer where he was once again lights out and started to garner attention from larger schools, resulting in his decommitment and eventual signing with the Bulldogs. The lefty can work into the low-90s with his fastball and offer up a 1/7 breaking ball with depth.

Jaden Woods

Willis is a towering 6-foot-6, 190-pounds, with a lean frame that has plenty of filling out to do. His fastball plays up to 91 mpg, sitting in the upper-80s. With all that length, he gets down the mound well and release way out in front, giving the batter even less time to react. Willis does a nice job mixing in a slider that has shown downward action.  

Coleman Willis

These two southpaws would already give Houston County two of the top starters in the entire state, but there is more. The pitching staff received a massive boost with the transfer of RHP Brodie Chestnutt (2021; Florida State). Simply put, Chestnutt is a physical monster at 6-foot-4, 225-pounds. The extra large right-hander can run his fastball up into the low-90s and will only continue to add more as he matures. What is even more impressive is his feel for his changeup and slider. The changeup has heavy sink and can make any batter swing and his. his slider has tight spin and has all the makings of a true out pitch. Adding Chestnutt to the mix gives the Bears three of the state's top starters.

Along with pulling duty on the mound, Woods will lead the offense after a 2019 season that saw him hit .314 with 18 Runs Batted In. Providing support will the scrappy and tenacious INF Jacob Profit (2020; Reinhardt). Profit may only be 5-foot-6, but he plays the game with a chip on his shoulder. He knows how to impact the game with his speed and uses it to his advantage every which way. MIF/RHP Trent Ringer returns to man the middle of the infield with Profit and provide additional offensive support. Ringer will also see time on the mound where he works in the mid-80s.

Jacob Profit

Coach Hopkins was on the receiving end of a another mass transfer that will boost his offense. OF Treyson Hughes (2021; West Virginia) made the move from Lowndes to Houston County this year. Hughes is a solid athlete who plays the game in an aggressive manner. He continues to add more and more strength to his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame, resulting in added pop to his swing. Hughes does a great job working the gaps and will be a real power threat at the plate this season.

All the pieces are in place for Houston County to have a huge year, thanks to returning talent and impact transfers. Much of their success will rely on whether or not the incoming freshman like Burress and Dunford, as well as newcomer Harrelson can step in and be immediate contributors. If so, the Bears will be one of the best in the state.


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Preseason Power 25 Countdown