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Georgia Tech’s Drew Burress is D1Baseball’s Freshman of the Year

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CARY, N.C. — Drew Burress’ boundless energy is evident when you watch him play. He ranges from gap to gap with ease as he plays center field, he’s quick to show off his arm strength and he uses high-torque setup in the batter’s box that puts his excellent bat speed on full display. 

That doubles as a list of things that allowed him to burst onto the scene in a big way at Georgia Tech in 2024 and win D1Baseball’s Freshman of the Year award. 

His boundless energy is also clear off the field. While being interviewed at Collegiate National Team camp in Cary, N.C., Burress mindlessly fiddled with his glove, tightening strings that didn’t need to be tightened and working the leather of what was already a broken-in glove. When he got excited about a topic, especially when talking hitting, he spoke with the same speed at which he plays the game. 

It’s almost as if you could see the potential energy coursing through his body, waiting to be unleashed as kinetic energy in the outfield or the batter’s box. 

And boy did he ever unleash plenty of it at Georgia Tech in the spring. 

He finished the campaign batting .381/.512/.821 with 15 doubles, 25 home runs and 67 RBIs, with far more walks (58) than strikeouts (37), all while playing every single game of the season in center field and collecting 10 outfield assists.

“I worked hard knowing that I was going to need to be on the same level as some of these 23, 24-year-olds, mentally and physically,” Burress said. “I think I did a good job of getting there in the weight room and Coach (James) Ramsey did a great job in the offseason helping me a lot in the mental side of hitting and getting my swing to where I wanted it to be. I think all that work just kind of carried over into the season.”

Ramsey is a key figure in Burress’ first-year story. Not only is Ramsey Georgia Tech’s recruiting coordinator tasked with bringing in players like Burress, but there are similarities between the two, right down to being undersized outfielders from Georgia who played in the ACC and could really, really hit. 

Most importantly, the way Ramsey teaches hitting has really clicked with his young protege. 

“I thought I knew a lot about hitting going in, but just in terms of knowing what pitches to swing at and knowing what you do well and what you don’t do well and playing to those strengths is something that Coach Ramsey preaches and (that) really helped me,” Burress said. 

The hitting was never an issue for Burress during his freshman season. He hit two homers on Opening Day against Radford, hit three over the course of that first series and on February 27 hit four homers in one game against crosstown foe Georgia State. He also batted .377/.514/.693 in ACC games, so it’s not as if his season was completely composed of beating up on non-conference competition. 

To hear him tell it, dealing with mid-90s velocity and nasty breaking balls with regularity wasn’t his biggest adjustment. Instead, it was what was being asked of him defensively.

“For me it was honestly being in center field and some of these guys running bases,” Burress said of the biggest adjustment he had to make. “Anytime there was a guy on second base and I got a ball to me in the outfield, I was always throwing it home. These guys are fast enough that sometimes you don’t have a chance, and that was one of the biggest adjustments I had to make in the fall. I was just throwing it to the wrong base a lot of times. It’s one of those things where every guy can run, even the guys who aren’t necessarily speedsters, and they know how to run the bases.”

It bodes well for Burress’ future development that he gives off that he’s a baseball rat through and through. He began the summer playing for Yarmouth-Dennis in the Cape Cod League, and after his time with the CNT is done in the next few days, he’s trekking back up to the Cape to continue his summer. 

Getting to play on the Cape and for the CNT isn’t exactly a tough way to spend the summer, sure, but it’s not uncommon for players of his ilk to pack it up for the summer after donning the stars and stripes rather than transitioning back to regular summer league action. 

“At the end of the day, baseball is all about competing,” Burress said. “I’ve had a blast getting to compete against some international competition and not only that, getting to compete against some of these guys who are the best players in the country.”

Next season will bring a bit of a different role for Burress. Not so much on the field, as he will once again man center field and hit in the middle of the order, but in the dugout and clubhouse. 

During the 2024 season, Burress was a freshman supernova on a team that was otherwise pretty old, especially in the lineup. Graduate transfers and others with tons of at-bats under their belt dotted the roster and provided a built-in leadership apparatus. 

The 2025 season will be something different. 

“We were old last year, we had a lot of grad transfers, and this year, it’s (going to have) a very different feel,” Burress said. “We’re going to have a young group of guys and we’re going to go out there and get it everyday, and we’re just going to say ‘hey, we’re going to outplay you today. We’re going to play harder than you.’ I think that’s what’s really going to take us to the next level.”

Given how Burress took to dominating opposing pitching in 2024, don’t expect a shift in his place within the team dynamic to alter anything about the way he performs, and look for Georgia Tech to be the beneficiary of further growth from one of college baseball’s most dynamic players.

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