University of Kentucky first baseman and Terre Haute native T.J. Collett has been named Coaches First-Team Preseason All-Southeastern Conference, it was announced Thursday, earning top honors at first base entering the 2020 season.
A senior, Collett has long been known for his prodigious power, swatting double-digit home runs each of the past two seasons, despite battling a myriad of injuries, including one that caused him to miss the final 20 games of the 2018 season. He enters the 2020 season needing 16 hits to join Kentucky’s career 100-hit club and 40 percent of his career hits have gone for extra bases.
Collett is expected to play first base this season after primarily serving as the team’s DH his first three seasons. He turned in a tremendous summer, shining in the prestigious Cape Cod League while being named to the All-Cape Cod League Team and a league all-star. His nine home runs tied for the league lead and were the most in the CCBL since 2012 and he ranked third with 32 RBI. Collett also competed in the Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans College Home Run Derby.
Collett clubbed 10 home runs and drove in a team-high 40 runs for UK last season, earning SEC Player of the Week honors after belting game-winning home runs in both ends of a doubleheader at No. 10 Ole Miss on April 14. He also hit the first home run in Kentucky Proud Park history and one of just two roundtrippers to center field in the new park.
In addition to his on-field ability, Collett has twice been named to the SEC Community Service Team for his work in the community and was recently announced as a 2020 inductee into UK Athletics’ Frank G. Ham Society of Character.
The Cats are entering the fourth season under coach Nick Mingione and have won 103 games during his three-year tenure. The program has seen 24 players selected in the past three Major League Baseball drafts, including a school-record 13 in 2018, and a pair of first-round selections in Evan White (2017) and Zack Thompson (2019). The program also advanced to the super regional for the first time in school history in 2017 and opened $49 million Kentucky Proud Park last season.