Catcher Drawn to the Gators

For Brandon Sedell to further his career, he thought it make sense to play for a coach familiar with his position. The American Heritage catcher signed with the Gators in November, in large part because of the familiarity Florida head coach Kevin O'Sullivan has with the catching position.

"My dad was always my coach, and he was a catcher, plus he had the best interest for me," Sedell said. "Since Sully was always a catcher, too, that was a big part of my decision-making."

O'Sullivan was at catcher at Florida Community College at Jacksonville for his first two seasons in college before transferring to Virginia for the final two.

Sedell committed to the Florida coaching staff in February 2010. It came two weeks after Sedell saw the Florida campus for the first time. The catcher saw Miami, Georgia and FIU before heading to Gainesville, but once he stepped on the Florida campus, there wasn't much of a doubt where he wanted to spend his time in college.

"I decided just to go look at the school, and I just fell in love with Florida right there," Sedell said.

The attraction to Florida wasn't just because of the head coach. It was also the winning program that Florida has turned into. Since O'Sullivan took the job in 2007 after the team didn't make the postseason, the Gators have improved every year. They made the NCAA Tournament in 2008, following it up by hosting a Super Regional in 2009.

Florida made a big step in 2010 by making it to the College World Series. They are ranked in the top-three of almost every preseason poll heading into the 2011 season.

The progress on the field means Sedell will come to Gainesville with high expectations to win every year.

"It's an honor to go to a school like that," Sedell said. "I'm hoping they win it this year and next year- back-to-back. Sully is bringing in a lot of talent."

Since committing to Florida, the American Heritage High School product has spent time getting to know his future head coach better.

"Me and Sully's relationship has been great," Sedell said. "He's the most fun coach I've ever talk to."

An important weekend for Sedell to get to know the Florida staff came when he took his official visit. It was during the weekend of the South Carolina football game, the same time Florida signees Sean Trent and Dan Vogelbach visited.

Sedell was hosted by freshman shortstop Tyler Palmer.

"We got there early Saturday morning," Sedell said. "My mom had never been there, so we showed her around with Coach Bell. We got to see the weight room. After that, I didn't see my parents. I went off with the players. We just hung out at their dorms and went to the game. It was a lot of fun."

Sedell would be on campus for the 2012 season, which would be catcher Mike Zunino's junior year. The starting position isn't likely that season, but there are other ways for him to find his way in the lineup as a freshman. He doesn't have many expectations coming into his freshman year, but it would be tough to keep Sedell's bat out of the lineup.

"We haven't really talked about that yet," Sedell said. "I think my first year I'm planning on DHing and catching one-third of the games for Zunino. We'll see what happens, though."

The one hurdle between Sedell and the Florida campus comes in the MLB Draft during early June. The 6-2, 210-pound catcher has proven he can stay behind the plate, plus he has an advanced bat. However, he hasn't put much thought into the draft.

"I'm not worried about that," Sedell said. "I really want to come to Florida, but I'm just focusing on my high school season right now."

His senior year begins early February. American Heritage lost in the regional final last season. This year, Sedell said they are young without much depth, but "the starting lineup is really good."

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