Being the new guy isn't easy, but Dawson County High School graduate Tucker Maxwell is making it look easy.
The former Tiger baseball player has been working out and getting ready for his first season with the University of Georgia baseball program and seems to not only be enjoying it, but excelling.
"I love it. It is everything I expected," Maxwell said.
The UGA baseball Twitter feed recently featured the freshman outfielder in a slow motion video setting the record for the best vertical jump-at 39.5 inches.
He broke a 12 year record for the program.
That alone is impressive, but add his early success during the black versus red Fall World Series, and it looks like it is easy being the new guy.
Maxwell says, however, that is not the case.
"The first couple of weeks were not easy, but once you get used to it and the game slows down a little bit it gets a little bit easier. It is still not easy, but it gets a little bit easier," he said.
Maxwell said that when he first arrived, Coach Scott Stricklin pulled him aside to tell him to just slow down.
"So he made me slow down and I started playing fine after that," Maxwell said.
To finish fall workouts, the team played a three-game series and Maxwell was part of the black squad that earned a steak dinner from the red squad after a come-from-behind victory in the series.
"The very first game...We got our butts kicked," Maxwell said. "So Coach Stricklin came over to us after the game and told us how bad we looked. Not really how bad we looked, but how much energy he didn't think we had. So the second game we came out. We played a lot better. We played a lot better all-around and we ended up winning."
In game three, the black team won 9-2 and Maxwell had a double and a home run along with four RBIs to lead the offense.
But much like when he talks about what looks like his ability to fly, Maxwell is humble and takes little credit.
"I don't know how much big of a deal it was. I just know it was a lot of fun," he said. "Because anytime playing at that level, even playing high school ball and doing something good in the game is fun. That is why you play the game."
Maxwell attributes much, if not all of his success, to his dad Sid Maxwell.
"It's all him. If I didn't have his training, I don't think I could play D1. I don't think I would be half the athlete I was if I didn't have him," Maxwell said.
Maxwell has played baseball since he was 3 years old and began his high school baseball career at 6-AAAAAA Lambert High School where he started as a freshman.
As a sophomore, the team went 36-2 and won a state championship.
When the decision came about whether or not Tucker should move for his senior season to Dawson County, Maxwell said there was no difficulty making that choice.
"I know my dad has got me everywhere I needed to go. I know he's the one that can best prepare me for where I need to be to play at the next level. So it wasn't really a big decision because I know if I had stayed there, I wouldn't get the same training and coaching as I would if I came here," he said.
As a senior at Dawson County he earned a .518 batting average, hit five homeruns and had 37 RBIs. He also scored 51 runs, stole 38 bases and was walked 37 times. He also had 14 doubles and two triples.
"Very proud of Tucker and all he has accomplished," said Tigers' head baseball Coach Dwayne Sapp. "He will do great things at UGA."
Maxwell says that he loves the people he now knows because of the move to Dawson, but he seems to get most excited when he talks about his dad and the way he impacted his career, as well as the career of every player he coaches.
"He treats everyone the same, no matter how good or bad they are. He always says he can take a good player and make them great or he can take an average player and make them good," Maxwell said.
The veteran coach has made an immediate impact in the Dawson football community as evidenced by the first two seasons on the field. In his first year, the team became region champions and went to the quarterfinals in the state playoffs-a feat never before accomplished in Dawson County.
It was also a school record for most wins.
Maxwell's philosophy is developing athletes and his son Tucker is a testimony to that success.
"As his father I am proud of his tremendous work ethic to be his very best both academically and athletically," Sid Maxwell said. "He is a team player that has a humble approach to the game - whatever he can do for the team's success is his primary focus."
Now the start of baseball season is just around the corner and Maxwell is excited over what the future holds.
The early success on the field for him comes in the midst of a season when the Bulldogs have 19 new guys on the team, 14 of them freshmen.
Maxwell said that it is a family atmosphere and that everyone gets along from the large group of freshmen on up to the seniors.
Heading into the Christmas break, starters have not been named.
Maxwell said that Stricklin told the team that the starting lineup will not be posted until Feb. 17.
That is opening day when Georgia will face the College of Charleston in Athens.
"You can't control it," Maxwell said. "You only control your effort and how you act...You can work to start. And you can have a good attitude so you can have a good chance of starting. If you don't start, you still have to have a good attitude. It's your teammates and friends."