CONYERS -- The past four months have gone well for Heritage’s Darryl Buggs.
On May 24, Buggs and his Heritage teammates helped bring home the Class 6A state championship trophy back home to Conyers for the first time in program history. In July, Buggs won two more championships while playing travel ball for Team Elite and DRB Elite.
In September, Buggs brought home a different type of trophy, this time in the form of a college commitment to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a Division 1 program based out of Conference USA.
After receiving several other offers including Columbus State, West Georgia and North Carolina A&T, Buggs was eventually sold on the Blazers after taking an official visit earlier this month.
“I went on an official visit on a Friday and Saturday and spent the night,” Buggs said. “I stayed overnight with the freshmen in the dorm rooms and I liked their vibe and how they hold each other accountable. It’s like a brotherhood there.”
Buggs will be coached by Brian Shoop, who has spent the past 13 seasons as the Blazers’ head coach. Buggs also mentioned the likes of volunteer assistant head coach Ron Polk, who spent 29 seasons as Mississippi State’s head coach and is the winningest head coach in SEC history.
“When I talked to (Shoop), he was all for the players,” Buggs said. “The most important thing to him is helping develop his players and help turn them into men.”
While Buggs also considered Columbus State heavily, a Division II program where Heritage teammate Nick Watson-Garcia currently resides, having an opportunity to play D-1 baseball won him over in the end.
“(UAB) was the best offer that I had,” Buggs said. “I wanted to be a Division 1 player and it was the biggest D-1 offer that I had. I’m not knocking any of the other Division II or junior colleges (that offered me) but I liked UAB better than all of those other schools.”
Buggs’ tour around campus and the baseball facilities was another big selling point for Buggs, who wanted a family environment, while also having the experience of attending a big school.
“The campus is beautiful,” Buggs said. “It’s like a big circle so it’s hard to get lost. They have seven hospitals around because it’s a big nursing school. If you get injured, that’s where you will go because they have one of the top hospitals there. On the baseball side, they have two fields. They play most of their regular season games at the Birmingham B.. Stadium at the minor league stadium.”
After winning a state championship with Heritage and two more travel ball titles this summer, it was easy for Buggs to call the past few months some of the best of his 18-year life.
“It was one of the best summers that I’ve ever had team wise and individual wise,” Buggs said. “With the 16U team, I pitched in the championship game and we won that game. With the 17U team, we won the championship and that was the very last tournament of the summer. I feel a whole lot more confident in myself now.”
Buggs will soon gear up for his senior season at Heritage, where he pitches and plays both the infield and outfield. As a junior, Buggs led the Patriots in batting with a .382 average. His 42 hits also led the team.