LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky senior first baseman T.J. Collett will return for the 2021 season, taking advantage of the NCAA’s ruling on eligibility relief for spring sports student-athletes whose season was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He joins fellow senior Zeke Lewis in returning to Lexington for a final season.
“Four years ago, BBN welcomed me with open arms,” Collett said. “During my time in Lexington, the University of Kentucky has given me every opportunity and resource to become the best version of myself, both on and off the field. Wearing the Blue and White has been an absolute honor and incredibly fun. That’s why I’ll be wearing it for one final ride.
“I can’t wait to give everything I have to my teammates, coaches and fans. I’m blessed Mr. Barnhart and Coach Mingione are giving me the opportunity to go out on my own terms. See you in the fall, BBN!”
Collett, a first baseman from Terre Haute, Indiana, has proven to be one of the nation’s premier power hitters during his career. He clubbed five home runs in just 69 at-bats this spring and now has 26 for his career, averaging one every 14.9 times he steps into the batter’s box. He recorded his 100th career hit this season and finished the 2020 season batting .290 with 10 extra-base hits, 17 RBI and a stout .931 OPS.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder is a two-time National and Southeastern Conference Player of the Week who has hit .269 with 44 extra-base hits, 97 RBI and a .519 slugging percentage in 118 career games.
Collett also has starred off the field while at UK, recently being named the athletic department’s Mr. Wildcat and being inducted into the prestigious Frank G. Ham Society of Character for his work in the community. He is a 2020 SEC Brad Davis Community Service Award recipient and a two-time member of the SEC Community Service Team who has been instrumental in UK baseball's community outreach and service initiatives. He is heavily involved with the NEGU/Jessie Rees Foundation, whose mission is connecting with families of young cancer patients, bringing awareness to their stories, offering them a network of helpful resources and sending the entire family encouragement throughout their journey.
NEGU, which stands for Never Ever Give Up, has worked with Collett on bringing children and their families to UK home baseball games to experience pregame activities on the field and in the dugout, as well as be announced during the game. As part of his work with NEGU, Collett has spearheaded an effort where members of the UK baseball team delivery Joy Jars to young cancer patients. The jars are stuffed with toys, games, and other things to brighten patients’ days while fighting the disease.