During the season, a Major League Baseball scout told Citadel coach Fred Jordan that catcher Joe Jackson projected to go anywhere from the seventh to the 12th round of the draft.
But that was before the junior from Mauldin tore up the Southern Conference over the last month of the season.
Jackson, who hit a cool .538 in the month of May and .769 in the SoCon tournament, moved all the way up to the fifth round of the MLB draft Friday, taken with pick No. 160 by the Texas Rangers.
“Surprised a lot of people,” said Jackson, who thought he’d be taken in rounds 8-15. “Surprised myself, but I’m really excited and ready to get my career started.”
Jordan said Jackson “really raised his stock” in the final month of the season.
“It’s well-deserved for Joe,” Jordan said. “He dedicated the past year to putting himself in this position, and the last month of the season he definitely showed his true skill.”
Also Friday, the Mariners took College of Charleston pitcher Jake Zokan in the eighth round, with pick No. 267.
For the season, the 6-1, 190-pound Jackson hit .386 with 13 home runs and 67 runs batted-in. He was named first-team all-SoCon and to the third team of the Louisville Slugger All-America squad.
Jackson, a junior, said he will sign with the Rangers. He and the team agreed to a signing bonus figure before he was picked. Jackson said the figure was less than the $289,000 slotted for pick No. 160, “but it was reasonable. I’m happy with it.”
Jackson, the great-great-great nephew of baseball legend “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, is the highest drafted position player from The Citadel since Dallas McPherson went in the second round to the Angels in 2001.
He figures to report to the Rangers’ rookie league team in Arizona, then to the short-season team in Spokane, Wash.
Zokan, a senior left-hander at 6-1 and 195 pounds, was 4-3 with a 2.85 earned-run average this season. In 79 innings, he walked just 15 and struck out 80.