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Walker Jenkins picks up second straight Gatorade Player of the Year honor

Jenkins, a South Brunswick star, hit .417 this season and scored 33 runs. He is expected to be one of the top picks in the 2023 MLB Draft this summer.

Gatorade has announced Walker Jenkins of South Brunswick High School is the 2022-23 Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year, his second straight year receiving the award.

Jenkins is the second Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Player of the Year to be chosen from South Brunswick High School. 

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Jenkins as North Carolina’s best high school baseball player. 

 Jenkins, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior outfielder, compiled a .417 batting average with 33 runs scored this past season, leading the Cougars (14-10) to the Round of 16 in the Class 3A state tournament. 

Jenkins walked in 32 of 95 plate appearances while compiling an on-base percentage of .632 and a slugging percentage of .633. 

Ranked as the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2023 by Perfect Game, he’s a member of the USA Baseball Under-18 National Team. 

Walker Jenkins

This is the second straight year that Walker Jenkins was named Gatorade Player of the Year

Jenkins has volunteered locally as part of community beautification projects and as a youth baseball coach. He has also donated his time to multiple community service initiatives through his church youth group. 

“I have been playing or coaching baseball for 33 years in Wilmington and Walker is definitely one of the top two or three players I’ve seen over that time,” said Ben Stroehl, head coach of Ashley High School. “He is a tremendous competitor and looks like a man among boys.” 

Jenkins has maintained a weighted 4.57 GPA in the classroom. He has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship at the University of North Carolina this fall, but is projected as an early round selection in July’s Major League Baseball draft. 

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. 

The selection process is administered by the Gatorade Player of the Year Selection Committee, which leverages experts including coaches, scouts, media and others as sources to help evaluate and determine the state winners in each sport. 

Two-time winner Jenkins joins recent Gatorade North Carolina Baseball Players of the Year Josh Hartle (2020-21, Reagan High School), Ryan Clifford (2019-20, Leesville Road High School), and Blake Walston (2018-19, New Hanover High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.