Olive Branch native Taylor Bobo is reuniting with an old teammate and moving closer to his backyard as he advances his career to the highest level of amateur baseball.
Bobo, who has starred at Northeast Mississippi Community College for the last two years, has signed his National Letter of Intent (NLI) to become the newest player for the University of Memphis.
“We’re tickled to death for him. If anybody deserves that it’s him,” said NEMCC Tigers head coach Richy Harrelson. “He’s come in here and led our team. He just controls everything out there when he’s on the mound. We have no problem giving him the ball with a game on the line.
“He’s just a go-to guy. They’re going to love him up there. He’s going to bring an energy and an attitude that he’s going to make people around him better and that’s what you want.”
The Memphis Tigers are perennially one of the most competitive squads in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). Memphis reached the semifinals of the AAC Tournament last year and is now in its 13th season under the watch of headman Daron Schoenrock.
“I’m just excited,” Bobo said. “I’ve always enjoyed their program and loved watching them play. I’m just ready to be over there and play with those guys. It’s going to be a great experience.”
Bobo has thrived on the hill during his sophomore campaign with Northeast. He serves as the closer out of the bullpen for the Tigers and has six saves so far this year, which is third most in the Magnolia State and tied for eighth in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
The Olive Branch native recorded his inaugural save during Northeast’s victory over Lake Land (Ill.) College in late February. He went on to notch saves in March versus Southwest Tennessee Community College, Calhoun (Ala.) Community College and rival Itawamba Community College.
The left-hander is perfect so far this month in two save opportunities, including his most recent successful venture in a tight 3-2 triumph by the Tigers at East Mississippi Community College.
He has the greatest amount of appearances for Northeast at 14 and wields a team-low 2.25 earned run average (ERA). Bobo also has four wins to his credit, which is the second most on the squad and the highest among relievers.
Bobo starts in the outfield for the Tigers when he does not have pitching duties. He holds a fielding percentage of .960 between the two positions with only two errors in 50 total chances.
He is currently batting .244 as part of Northeast’s batting lineup with 21 hits, 16 runs scored and five RBIs. Bobo has taken 13 free passes, including 12 walks, with a .340 on-base percentage.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to play Division I baseball,” Bobo said. “I’ve definitely thought about doing it my whole entire life and now it’s kinda like that dream is becoming a reality.
“I want to do the most with it and work my butt off continually. Hopefully I can just go over there and give them productive innings, fill up the strike zone and get outs just like I do here.”
Bobo participated in 26 contests as a freshman with 11 of those coming as a pitcher. He went 1-2 in 28.1 innings of work, including three starts, with 22 strikeouts compared to just nine walks.
He currently holds a 5-3 record in 25 outings during his two-year tenure with the Tigers. Bobo has struck out 35 batters in 44.1 innings and carries a composite ERA of 4.67.
Bobo was a standout at Olive Branch High School prior to arriving in the City of Hospitality. He held a 1.57 ERA between his junior and senior campaigns with 10 victories and 163 strikeouts against only 48 walks.
The 5-8, 150-pounder will join former Northeast standout Trent Turner at Memphis. Bobo becomes the tenth Tiger in the last three seasons to ink with a four-year institution.