Rummel catcher commits to LSU

The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reports Wednesday that LSU has received a verbal commitment from Archibishop Rummel catcher Matt Liuzza.

An all-state selection in Class 5A last season, Liuzza hit .415 in his junior year. He can sign a national letter of intent with LSU in November and would join a Tiger catching staff already teeming with talent.

The Tigers won the tug-of-war for Jonathan Zeringue, the Class 3A MVP and co-Mr. Baseball Louisiana in 2001. The Chicago White Sox drafted Zeringue in the third round, but he elected to attend LSU instead of accepting the club's contract offer.

Liuzza is also is expected to be a fairly high draft pick, and LSU coach Smoke Laval will probably have to play the waiting game again to see if Liuzza ends up in college or the pros. Former coach Skip Bertman faced the same situation a few years back when Jeff Wincehster, another Rummel product who was considered one of the nation's best prep catchers at the time, was drafted. Wincehster ultimately bypassed LSU and entered pro baseball.

"Liuzza has been extremely productive since becoming the Raiders starting catcher as a sophomore," said David Whitmore, Tiger Rag baseball recruting analyst. "He has a quick bat and good power, but his defense is rock solid for a player so young.
 
"In my opinion, he is much more polished behind the plate than Zeringue. Liuzza has a very quick release and a strong accurate arm. He is fun to watch and is always at full speed."
 
As to how Liuzza compares to Winchester, the man who would know best is the one who coached both young men - Rummel baseball coach Frank Cazeaux.
 
Cazeaux told Tiger Rag that at first, Liuzza wasn't sure if he could play at LSU and was probably a bit scared of Zeringue's commitment. "But he must be very excited about coming to LSU," Cazeaux said. "He had some great offers."

Liuzza originally wanted to play for Alabama, Florida or Auburn, said Cazeaux.

"Turtle (Thomas) was very honest with him," Cazeaux said. "He told (Liuzza) who they had and who was coming in. I told him not to make a decision based on whether he'll play right away.

"As a high school catcher, there's not many weaknesses. He blocks well, he throws well and he can hit," Cazeaux added.

Liuzza spent two years behind Winchester, a former LSU signee, waiting to play. He was a quarterback for Rummel's football team two years ago before he quit to concentrate on baseball.

"One thing I'd like him to do is be more patient at the plate," noted Cazeaux. "Matt gets walked a lot, and they'll try to get him out on bad pitches. He can swing at a bad pitch and hit it out of the park. But I'd rather see him have a little more patience."


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