For LSU baseball signee Jarret DeHart, who was named an underclassmen All-American by Perfect Game last year, the recruiting process started very early.
The 6-2 215-pound outfielder kicked off his recruitment his freshman year of high school, at which time he began taking visits to schools of interest for him. DeHart, a standout at Shawnee High School in Medford, NJ, explained that he focused on narrowing down his college choices early so that he could focus on becoming the best player that he can be.
"The recruiting process was interesting for me," explained DeHart. "It started pretty early, and I went on my first unofficial visit to Miami my freshman year. I visited some other schools besides LSU, like Oregon State and Ole Miss, among others. I narrowed it down to LSU and Ole Miss pretty early."
DeHart feels that he was lucky to have the opportunity to see all of the schools that he was interested in throughout the process. With Dehart having already visited LSU several times before he made his decision, he said his final visit to Baton Rouge sealed the deal for the Tigers.
"It worked out well because I was on a travel team that allowed us to visit schools on our trips," said DeHart. "We went to Ole Miss first and then LSU back-to-back days, so it was good. I was still a little unsure about it until I got to Baton Rouge and got to meet with Coach [Paul] Mainieri. He showed me a couple of national championship rings and told me that if I went there I would win one of those."
DeHart explained that prior to his final visit to LSU, he had shut down his recruiting process for a while to deal with an injury that was plaguing him. Once he finally got back to Baton Rouge, Dehart said it didn't take long to realize that it was where he needed to be.
"I had visited there a couple of other times and decided to shut things down on a decision until my wrist injury cleared up," said DeHart. "But I committed there right after my final visit because I just knew it was the right place for me. I actually called my coach while we were eating dinner after my visit to tell him."
DeHart said it was an easy decision to choose LSU and end his recruiting process. The player explained that he had ties to the program before his recruitment started, as one family member played for the Tigers in the early 90s - former stud pitcher Brett Laxton. Ties to the program helped the Tigers with DeHart, but he feels as though the school and the history of the program also sold him on LSU.
"Ultimately, it was the combination of it being a great school and I have family down there," said DeHart. "I had a cousin (Laxton) that won a couple of titles there in the early 90's. I feel like I can win a title there and it's just a great place to be. It was easy to go to a place that is by far the best place to play college baseball in the country."
His relationship with the LSU coaching staff also made the decision easier for DeHart.
"I have a great relationship with the coaching staff," said DeHart. "I talk to Coach [Javi] Sanchez a lot, and we get together with my cousin when I'm down there, since they know each other. It's a lot easier now than it was before I committed there. They are really awesome guys and I really look forward to building my relationship with them even more when I get to campus."
While DeHart says that he hasn't discussed a possible role on the team with the LSU coaching staff, he believes that he has what it takes to contribute early for the Tigers, something he says he has discussed with his future coaches. Knowing that the Tigers have been looking for left-handed hitting help, DeHart could provide an early boost in that area for the Tigers.
"We haven't really discussed my role on the team there," said DeHart. "They told me that I could come in, contribute early, and start my freshman year. I feel like if I come in and do the things that I know I can do, then I will have a good chance to start my freshman year."
Every year college baseball coaches have to worry about the Major League Baseball Draft. Coaches sign players not knowing if they will ever step foot on the college campus of their choice. For DeHart, the draft is of little concern at this point in the process, but is something he will evaluate at a later time.
"As of right now, no one really knows what the deal is with the draft," said DeHart. "The scouts want to see me all of this year and into the spring. It is going to be interesting, but I just want to go out and be the best player I can be and worry about the rest later. It depends on a lot of factors on what will sway me.
"I haven't really discussed it with my family yet, so I'm not really worrying about it at this time."
For now, LSU baseball fans everywhere should look forward to seeing DeHart in purple and gold next year.
DeHart ready for Baton Rouge
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