Top SEC Newcomers To Watch In 2022
The SEC is once again loaded with newcomer talent this year. Many of college softball's future stars will make their debuts in the SEC in 2022 and have the potential to lead their teams to deep runs in the postseason and success at the Women's College World Series for several years to come.
See below for the top newcomers to watch in the SEC this spring.
As the only SEC-bound player in the top five of Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings, there are high expectations for Aubrey Barnhart this coming season. Barnhart, who originally committed to Auburn in 2016, will still be in the state of Alabama, but to play for Patrick Murphy and the Crimson Tide.
As the 2020 Tennessee Gatorade Softball Player of the Year, Barnhart was a force to be reckoned with at Goodpasture Christian School. The lefty hitter posted a .551 career high school batting average with 18 home runs and over 100 RBI. Barnhart also has a stellar eye at the plate, as she drew 108 walks in her 102 high school games.
With the departure of Alabama star catcher Bailey Hemphill, it is possible that Murphy will give Barnhart opportunities to play behind the plate, or she may get a shot at another spot in the infield. But wherever he chooses to put Barnhart, she will be another threat for the Crimson Tide in 2022.
Lyndi Rae Davis
Staying close to home, Lyndi Rae Davis will represent her home state as a Georgia Bulldog this spring. Ranked No. 29 in Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings, there are high hopes for Davis at Georgia.
Named the Georgia 3A State Player of the Year after her freshman season, Davis was a huge offensive threat at Calhoun High School, who continued to grow over her four seasons on the team. Davis ended on a positive note at Calhoun, compiling a .600 batting average with 15 home runs in her senior season alone.
Tony Baldwin will be looking to freshmen like Davis to step up in 2022. With her big bat and strong arm behind the plate, Davis will likely get some significant time for the Bulldogs this spring.
Ranked No. 7 in Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings, Lexie Delbrey is one of the top pitchers in her class. Delbrey, who committed to Florida in March of her junior year, will finally have the chance to chase her dreams of winning a national championship.
Delbrey has been dominant in the circle, pitching for the East Cobb Bullets club team as well as pitching for Bainbridge High School. For her varsity high school team, Delbrey had a career ERA of 0.65 with 423 strikeouts in just under 194 innings pitched. Throwing in the high 60s, and even reaching as high as 71 mph, Delbrey is prepared for the role she will play for Tim Walton's team this season.
Walton and the rest of Florida’s coaching staff have patiently waited for Delbrey to make her pitching debut as a Gator. Already throwing with the speed and movement that top college pitchers possess, Delbrey is ready to immediately make her mark on the SEC this year.
Aubrey Barnhart is not the only Alabama rookie who has high expectations going into the 2022 season. Utility player Dallis Goodnight is also expected to be a force for the Tide this spring, as she was ranked No. 12 in Softball America's 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings. Goodnight committed to Alabama during the fall of her junior year, and this season, she will have the opportunity to help bring the Tide back to the Women’s College World Series.
Goodnight put up extraordinary numbers during her four years at Georgia’s Mill Creek High School. During her senior season, she hit .538 with an astonishing 52 stolen bases, breaking the county record for most stolen bases in a single season. Goodnight, who was also a star on her high school’s track and field team, will add exceptional speed to Alabama’s lineup.
Goodnight will fit right into Patrick Murphy’s lefty-heavy lineup. With her speed and slapping abilities, it is likely that Goodnight will play a crucial role for Alabama’s offense this season.
Coming in at No. 22 in Softball America’s 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings, LSU outfielder McKenzie Redoutey is likely to be a crucial part of Beth Torina’s offense and defense this year. Redoutey, who verbally committed to LSU more than four years ago, continued to receive interest from other top schools but stuck by her word to become a Tiger.
Redoutey played a crucial role for both her high school and club teams. As the starting left fielder for a talented Georgia Impact team, she helped her squad earn second place at the 2019 18U PGF Premier Nationals. At Franklin High School in North Carolina, Redoutey posted a career .452 batting average, including a .667 batting average and .739 on-base percentage for her senior season.
As LSU's highest-ranked newcomer, many eyes are going to be on Redoutey this spring.