Brinson batted .461 with eight home runs and 47 RBI, posting an .814 slugging percentage and a .562 on base percentage this spring. The 6-0, 210-pounder was the South team’s Most Valuable Player at the Mississippi Crossroads All-Star Game and made the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper’s Dandy Dozen list of prospects for 2012.
Oak Grove (34-3) finished with a No. 2 national ranking in the USA Today high school baseball Top 25 poll and No. 10 in the MaxPreps Top 25 as Brinson was in his fourth year as the starting catcher. He was the first freshman to start in that program in the last 15 years.
He repeated as a first-team All-State selection. As a junior, Brinson hit .483 with five homers and 43 RBI while slugging .851 and posting a .571 batting average for coach Chris McCardle.
Brinson, who has been clocked in 4.6 in the 40-yard dash and 6.6 in the 60, was also the Most Valuable Player for the Warriors’ football team last fall in his third season as a starting linebacker, playing offense and defense most of that time. He was voted “Most Athletic” at OGHS and was a PineBeltSports.com All-Area first-team linebacker, later earning state MVP honors from that website in baseball.
“The most impressive thing about Cort is the way he played high school baseball, the way he approached every practice, every game, and the level of success he and his team achieved,” said Burroughs, hired last month to take over the Demons’ program.
“He played in one of the premiere high school baseball programs not only in Mississippi, but in the South and even the nation. They’ve won 10 state championships in the biggest classification in Mississippi. They’ve had numerous pro players, guys who have made it to the big leagues. He comes from a great program and absolutely knows how to win,” said Burroughs.
Oak Grove reached the state playoffs in all four of Brinson’s seasons.
He was an ESPN.com All-State choice in 2012 and stood out at the Power Showcase in Phoenix, posting the second-fastest 60-yard dash time among 80 participants and being the only one who hit an opposite-field home run.
“He’s very physical, very strong, can run, and is just a tremendous athlete. He was a great linebacker in football. Cort’s got tools off the charts,” said Burroughs. “He brings a level of toughness and seriousness that we want and need in our program. Add in his character, his work ethic, and it’s very exciting to have him with us as we get going at Northwestern State.”
Brinson opted out of a preferred walk-on offer from Mississippi State, where Burroughs was an assistant coach for the past four seasons, to play for him at NSU.
“(Burroughs) was the only (Mississippi State coach) that had come watch me play,” Brinson told the Hattiesburg American newspaper. “And I just wanted to play for coach Burroughs. There’s just a high comfort level there, and he’s got a good track record.
“It’s one of those things you can’t turn down,” said Brinson.
Brinson has ability to play anywhere on the field, although he was exclusively a catcher for Oak Grove.
“There are a lot of opportunities for me,” he told the American. “I may play first (base), outfield or middle infield. They’ll just see where I fit in and hopefully get my bat somewhere in the lineup.”
As a junior, he was a first-team All-Area utility player, the District 8 player of the year, won a Baseball Factory Louisville Slugger Hitting Award, and was named Oak Grove’s best offensive player. He was included on the Mississippi Hardball Top 15 Players in the State list, and chosen for the State Games of Mississippi, in 2010 and 2011. Brinson also won the football team’s Outstanding Linebacker Award as a junior.
In football, he played outside linebacker for two years and was the middle linebacker as a senior. He played on special teams and on offense at quarterback and running back in short-yardage situations. Brinson was chosen Most Valuable Team Player at Oak Grove for 2012.
Burroughs said additional signees will be announced soon.