The Memphis University School infielder is a 16-year-old sophomore who will sign in Nov. 2012, graduate from MUS in May 2013, and enroll at Ole Miss for the fall of 2013 with the hope of playing as a true freshman in the spring of 2014.
Sound unusual? It's becoming less so. Some high school students are deciding earlier and earlier where they want to go to college. Count Dulin in that number.
"I'm very excited about it," said Dulin, son of Barbara and Tim Dulin, owner of the renowned Dulins Sports Complex in Memphis. "All through my adolescent life I've been to Oxford. I've been to games there, including Regionals and Super Regionals. I love the atmosphere, and I like the way things are done there."
Dulin said he has the same love of the game he sees from the Ole Miss coaches and players, many of them he has known since they played and trained at Dulins Sports Complex through the years. It's a game he's been around all his life.
"Baseball is a passion for me. I love to play it," said Dulin, who can play second base, third base, or shortstop. "I love getting dirty and playing when it's 102 degrees. I've grown up with it."
He can roll off so many of the names of players who have come through Dulins, a lot of them who have ended up at Ole Miss. Many are players so familiar to Rebel fans, like Drew Pomeranz, Zack Cozart, Zach Miller, Mark Holliman, Mark Wright, Blair Wright, Phillip Irwin, and Cody Overbeck among them.
"One year I think the whole infield had come from there," said the 5-foot-7, 155-pound, still-growing Dulin.
Someday, a little bit down the road, Dalton Dulin will likely be a big part of that infield. His high school coach at MUS, Johnny Beard, said Dulin has all the tools and the knowledge necessary to succeed at the next level.
"He's what I call a baller," Beard said. "He's a dirtbag and plays every play hard. When he gets through playing a game, he's dirty and got elbows scarred up and knees scarred up. He's real intense and he knows the game. He's a leader on the field."
Beard said that Dulin committing to Ole Miss already was not from out in left field, so to speak.
"It doesn't surprise me that he committed early," Beard said. "He's a good enough player that I think most coaches can see what kind of potential he has down the road."
Beard said Dulin is a solid all-around player who will continue to get better.
"His strengths are definitely his knowledge of the game and the way he plays the game," Beard said. "And his speed. He gets on base and drives other teams crazy. A walk or a single eventually turns into a double or a triple. He steals bases as well as any player I've ever coached. He's one of those type players you love being on your team and you probably wouldn't like if he wasn't. He's just that type player. He's real confident and carries himself well.
"He's a great defensive player, and he hits the ball extremely well," Beard continued. "He's been switch-hitting now for I don't know how many years. He's a little stronger from the left side than he is the right side. Other than that, he's just the total package."
Last season as a freshman for the Owls, Dulin split time with the junior varsity and varsity, playing the last portion of the season at third base. In the state playoffs, Dulin was stellar.
He was 5-for-7 along with two walks in four total games against Briarcrest, Christian Brothers, and Brentwood Academy. He had two doubles, two stolen bases, and three RBI.
For the season in 21 games with the MUS varsity, starting 11 contests, Dulin batted .444 with six doubles, a home run, eight walks, and eight RBI.
Dalton was a member of the Dulin Dodgers 2009 team that won three national championships. He was selected as an alternate to the 2009 Team USA 14 U team. He was named one of the fastest 2013 players in the country by Perfect Game USA.
Jim Crawford, a scout for the Chicago Cubs, said Dulin has all the tools to play baseball for years.
"He's a baseball rat," Crawford said. "He's got a chance to be pretty special. He's got good, soft hands, he's got speed, and he is a worker. He does things on his own. I think he's a natural second baseman. He can play shortstop, because he's got enough arm to play there. And he'll do well in college wherever they play him. But my opinion for the next level (pro), he's a second baseman.
"His feet work real good. His execution is good. He's a solid, solid player," Crawford continued. "He's mentally prepared to play. Many don't have any idea how to prepare mentally for the game. He does. He needs to add strength to his body, which he will. He's still young."
Committing to Ole Miss, even as a 16-year-old high school sophomore, was the natural next step for Dulin, even as some other colleges were becoming very interested.
"Coach (Mike) Bianco wanted to get me (committed) early," Dulin said. "I'm glad to get it out of the way. I've got a lot of work to do between now and (Ole Miss)."
One thing included in that is winning at least one state title for MUS and Coach Beard.
"I've got three more years to do it," said Dulin, whose Owl team was state runnerup to Brentwood Academy last spring. "I'm focused on winning a state championship."
And then there is that future, which all agree is bright.
"My dream is to play pro ball," Dulin said. "I'm already looking forward to going to Ole Miss. I love the game, and I've been around it my whole life. I've been fortunate to have been around a lot of good people and a lot of good players. We'll see how it all goes from here."
The evaluations all seem to be that it will go quite well for Dalton Dulin.