Pitcher Emerson Hancock joined elite company Thursday when he became only the fourth student-athlete in the history of the University of Georgia to earn First Team Academic All-America honors and be a First Round draft pick in his sport.
On Thursday, Hancock, a 6-4, 213-pound junior right-hander from Cairo, Ga., was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) First-Team Academic All-America Team. A sports management major, he is the first Bulldog baseball player to be named to the First Team and the seventh overall to earn Academic All-America honors. The other six student-athletes made either the second or third team. The student-athlete must have a minimum of 3.3 GPA, be a starter or key reserve, and be at least a sophomore. Due to COVID-19, student-athletes this year were selected based on academics and career statistics.
On Wednesday night in the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft, the Seattle Mariners selected him with the sixth overall pick of the first round. He is the highest-drafted Bulldog since pitcher Derek Lilliquist went sixth overall to Atlanta in 1987. Hancock became the 11th Bulldog in school history to be selected in the first round.
Hancock joins fellow Cairo native Bill Stanfill (football, 1968 Academic All-American, Miami Dolphins, 11th pick in 1969), Alec Kessler (basketball, 1988-90 Academic All-American, Miami Heat, 12th pick in 1990) and Matt Stinchcomb (1997-98 Academic All-American, Oakland Raiders, 18th pick in 1999) who were First Team Academic All-Americans and First Round draft picks produced by UGA.
“My parents want me to finish that degree, and I have 12 hours left,” said Hancock. “I told them I would, and I’m looking forward to working and finding ways that I can satisfy that degree. This past semester, I had an A-minus in management that kept me from having a 4.0, which was a bummer. That was going to be the first time I got a 4.0 in college, and I was pumped. But, it didn’t happen. As far as the draft, I’m definitely excited. I’m very blessed for the Mariners in believing in me, and I’m ready to get to work.”
In his Bulldog career, Hancock posted a 16-7 record with a 3.47 ERA in 33 appearances, all starts. He has tallied 206 strikeouts and 55 walks in 192 innings. In 2020, he was 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts. He had 34 strikeouts and only three walks in 24 innings as Georgia went 14-4 and was ranked as high as No. 2 nationally when the season was canceled due to the pandemic. He had served as Georgia’s No. 1 starter for the past two seasons. He was a consensus All-American as a sophomore in 2019 after posting an 8-3 mark and 1.99 ERA.
“Emerson Hancock is everything you want as a player and a person,” said Georgia’s Ike Cousins head baseball coach Scott Stricklin. “I remember talking with him in my office when he was a freshman, and he laid it out. He said ‘Coach I came here to get better, to get bigger and stronger and smarter, and I’m going to be a first round pick.’
“From there, we went through the whole progression, from being a first-rounder to being a big leaguer, an All-Star, winning a Cy Young and being a Hall of Famer. We went all the way down the line. He’s always going to have a goal in front of him, and he’s got that first goal to be a first-round pick, and I’m really proud of him.”