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Franklin County senior Bennett Myers, seated center, talks to the crowd at his signing ceremony with Tennessee Thursday at FCHS. Seated next to Myers are his parents, James and Denise Myers. Standing, from left, are Terry Stephens, Stephen Wix, Jeff Wilhoite and Deron McDonald. (Linda Younkin | State Journal)

It was a year and three months between the time Franklin County senior Bennett Myers committed to play baseball at Tennessee and when he signed his national letter of intent.

It was worth the wait.

“I’ve never second guessed it,” Myers said of his decision.

Myers signed with Tennessee Thursday during a ceremony in front of family, friends, teammates and classmates at the FCHS gym.

Myers committed to Tennessee the first day of his junior year, and he said he hasn’t heard from other schools since then.

“Baseball is a little different,” he said. “Once you make your decision everyone kind of leaves you alone.

“In baseball, players tend to commit when they’re freshmen and sophomores. In football and basketball it’s usually juniors and seniors.”

Myers pitches and plays in the infield for the Flyers. An injury kept him off the mound for much of last season, where he had four starts and threw for 10 innings with a 2.80 earned run average.

He played in all 31 of FCHS’ games and had a .523 batting average with 32 runs batted in, 15 doubles and five home runs.

COVID wiped out his sophomore season, but as a freshman Myers made 10 starts as a pitcher, finishing with a 6-2 record and 1.41 ERA.

“I’ve known Bennett since he was a kid,” said Jeff Wilhoite, who was the FCHS coach Myers’ first three years of high school. “He’s grown into a great young man. I’m excited to see his future.”

Deron McDonald, who has also known Myers since he was a child, will be the Flyers’ coach this season.

“He’s one who is going to step up,” McDonald said. “Now we’ll see him do that in the SEC. He’s got the work ethic, talent and dedication to put himself at the point where he is now.”

Myers is looking forward to playing for the Volunteers.

“A big part is the fan base,” he said of his decision. “When I’m down in Tennessee and wearing Tennessee gear, people will come up to me randomly and ask why I’m wearing Tennessee gear. 

“When I tell them I’m going there to play baseball they always say, ‘oh, you’ll love it down there. The fan base is insane.’ I’ve been to a couple of football games and stuff. It’s an athlete’s environment for sure.”

Myers said he’s completely recovered from last spring’s injury, and he pitched this summer and fall ball with his traveling team, the Kentucky Baseball Club.

“It feels really good,” Myers, said about his arm while looking ahead to his senior season with the Flyers. “I’m excited to go out on the field with the guys I’m going to be playing with.”

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