One of the most heralded recruits in the 2002 recruiting class, junior college transfer Joe Gullion (GUHL-ee-un) brings impressive credentials into the Husker program. In two seasons at Johnson County Community College, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder from Leawood, Kan., batted .455, shattering school marks for homers (38), RBIs (134) and runs scored (122), as he ranked among the national leaders in batting average and homers in both seasons at JCCC.
A 43rd-round draft pick of the Montreal Expos in the 2001 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Gullion played nearly everywhere in the infield at the junior college level, but enters the spring as one of the frontrunners to replace four-year starter Will Bolt at second base.
Gullion also showed the ability to play first base during the summer, earning National Baseball Congress All-America honors in helping the Beatrice Bruins to a top-five finish at the NBC World Series. In seven games, he batted .400 (10-25) with a homer and seven RBIs. He finished the summer by leading the Bruin regulars with a .357 average, while belting five homers and driving in 35 runs in 45 contests. Gullion started the fall slowly, but closed with a flourish, batting .318 to help his Red team to a 4-3 win in the Red-White Series.
While Head Coach Mike Anderson knew about Gullion?s offensive potential, he has been more impressed with Gullion?s hard-nosed attitude and leadership skills.
"Joe has an intensity similar to John (Grose), and that is evident on the field," Anderson said. "He wants to win, and will do whatever it takes to help us be successful.
"He hit the ball hard during the fall, but they weren?t dropping early on," Anderson said. "He didn?t let that affect him, and really came on at the end of the fall."
After spending a redshirt year at Saddleback College in California, Gullion transferred to Johnson County CC, where he starred for Coach Kent Shelly for two seasons. Gullion set three school career marks - homers, RBIs and runs scored - while ranking second in school annals in career batting average and hits (132). His 38 homers broke the school record held by current Kansas City Royal Kit Pellow.
Last season, Gullion lived up to his preseason All-America billing, batting .422 with 18 homers and 69 RBIs. Nearly half of his 57 hits went for extra bases, as he ranked eighth in homers and 13th in RBIs, while also drawing a team-high 42 walks. He was a first-team All-Jayhawk League selection and was chosen to play in the Kansas Junior College All-Star game, a showcase for the league?s top prospects.
In 2001, he was named the Jayhawk East Conference Freshman of the Year and earned first-team All-Region VI accolades after batting .484 with 20 homers and 65 RBIs, setting school records in homers, hits (75) and runs scored (71). He led all junior college sluggers with 20 homers, ranked second in hitting and had a 1.045 slugging percentage.
A 1999 graduate of Blue Valley North High School, Gullion earned all-county honors in both his junior and senior campaigns playing for Coach John Pittenger. Gullion also played AAU ball, helping the Kansas City Monarchs win a national title in Orlando, Fla., as he garnered all-tournament honors. The son of Mike and Jane Gullion, who both graduated from Nebraska, Joe selected NU over Mississippi, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Kansas State.