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Calvin Harris set to take over the reins as next in long line of great Ole Miss catchers

Calvin Harris set to take over the reins as next in long line of great Ole Miss catchers

OXFORD, Miss. — Over the past three seasons, Ole Miss baseball fans grew accustomed to seeing Hayden Dunhurst behind the plate for Mike Bianco’s Rebels. This season, however, Dunhurst is with the Kansas City Royals organization and Calvin Harris will take over the reins at catcher, his natural position.

Few might remember, but last season before suffering an oblique injury, Harris was hitting .542 while filling in for an injured Dunhurst who had sustained a hamstring injury during the opening weekend of the season. 

Then, the same weekend that Dunhurst returned to the lineup Harris suffered his injury in Orlando against UCF. After that injury healed and he was able to play, Harris was getting the occasional start as the designated hitter and starting here and there at catcher to relieve Dunhurst.

The part many will remember, however, is how well Harris performed last year in the postseason. In the nine games he played in the regional through the College World Series he went 13 for 33 (.393) with two doubles, two home runs and nine RBI. 

Harris got back to being an everyday starter in the championship game of Coral Gables regional, not as a catcher, but as a right fielder.

A lot of people didn’t notice Calvin until the College World Series last year and he had a terrific series in Omaha. A kid that grew up in Iowa so what a neat thing to do it so close and have so many parents, friends, and family there. But the good news for Calvin is that he moves back behind the plate to his natural position. Truth be known we had a great catcher as you know in Hayden Dunhurst and if we didn’t have Hayden, Calvin would have started at least last year. A guy who is one of the most highly ranked catchers in the country.

Mike Bianco at Media Day on Calvin Harris

Harris’ return to his natural position at catcher this season bodes well for the Rebels, who lost one of the best catchers in the country from last year’s roster in Dunhurst. 

Out of high school, Harris was ranked the No. 9 catcher in the nation. D1Baseball currently has him ranked as the No. 5 catcher in the country going into the season, the No. 1 behind the plate in the baseball-rich Southeastern Conference.

Catcher U

Playing catcher at Ole Miss might be one of the most demanding tasks in all of college baseball. Playing for a head coach in Mike Bianco who, himself, was a catcher, along with assistant coaches Carl Lafferty and Mike Clement, who also played the position, will undoubtedly afford any Rebel behind the plate top notch development. 

Ole Miss has had some phenomenal catchers in the Bianco era, including the aforementioned Dunhurst, Stuart Turner, Will Allen, Cooper Johnson, and Nick Fortes to name a few.

Coach Bianco has time and time again recruited, coached, and developed some of the very best — and Calvin Harris is next in line to be one of the greats.

Nick Filipich

Nick Filipich

Nick Filipich was born and raised in Biloxi, MS. He is an Ole Miss alum with a degree in Sports and Recreation Administration. A sports junkie with a great passion for all things Ole Miss, Nick played baseball and football in high school — which is where he discovered his love for sports. He is an avid Braves and Saints fan, and in his free time enjoys spending time with family, friends and his black lab, Dixie.

About The Author

Nick Filipich

Nick Filipich was born and raised in Biloxi, MS. He is an Ole Miss alum with a degree in Sports and Recreation Administration. A sports junkie with a great passion for all things Ole Miss, Nick played baseball and football in high school — which is where he discovered his love for sports. He is an avid Braves and Saints fan, and in his free time enjoys spending time with family, friends and his black lab, Dixie.

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