Interview: Jason Esposito

He could have been a millionaire but instead he'll make a stop at Vanderbilt first. VandyMania's GFP talked with the prep baseball superstar who could take over for Pedro Alvarez.

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GFP: How excited are you to be coming to Vanderbilt?
Jason Esposito: I'm very excited. It has been my dream ever since I was a little kid to play in a big time college program like Vanderbilt's and play for a coach like Coach Corbin. I can't wait to get in and meet all of my teammates and the surrounding people of the baseball program.

GFP: How tempting was it to take the 1.5 million dollar signing bonus from the Royals and go pro?
JE: It was tempting, but I had to put the dollar amount aside and figure out whether I wanted to go off as a 17 year old and start working (literally) or come to school, get an education, and try and be apart of a first Vanderbilt team to go to Omaha. But my family was really supportive of the fact that I need an education and my 15-year-old brother actually convinced me to come to school. Which was a real shock hearing that from him. He's been there for everything I've done.

GFP: If it had been a better team like the Red Sox or Yankees that drafted you would you have been more inclined to go pro?
JE: No, my decision wasn't based on performance or prestige of a team, it was more so on coming to Vanderbilt, progressing as a teammate and as an educated person.

GFP: What made you decide to turn down the offer and come to Vandy? I heard that your initial decision was to take the money.
JE: Yeah, but I made that decision based on emotion. I was extremely excited when I heard they wanted to make that offer and that was my initial reaction. But When I talked to Coach Corbin and Coach Bakich they told me to slow everything down, slow the decision making process down, and make a decision without any emotional attachments, of course when I heard how much they wanted to offer I told my mom and dad I wanted to take it. Then I thought about how I would live the next 3-4 years in the middle of nowhere in Idaho (laughs) you never know where you're going to end up. But at Vanderbilt I know I'm going to be in a great support system with teammates who all have the same hopes as dreams as I do. I wanted to be a part of the Vanderbilt tradition.

GFP: What are your thoughts on getting to play for Coach Corbin?
JE: I'm really excited about getting to play for Coach Corbin. He's been nothing but supportive to my family and I throughout this whole process. Everyone has. Seeing what he's and the coach staff have done for guys like David Price, Casey Weathers, Jensen Lewis, Pedro, Flash just to name a few! Seeing their improvements over the years was inspirational for me to come to school and play for Coach Corbin and his staff. I couldn't be happier for all of the guys whom have been drafted after wearing a V on their hats, I wish them all the best!

GFP: Who were some of the other schools that were pursuing you?
JE: Florida and North Carolina were the 2 others who I was considering before choosing Vanderbilt.

GFP: What made you choose Vandy over those other schools?
JE: I chose Vandy because it combines the 2 biggest aspect of playing college baseball. 1 being the program coach Corbin and his assistants have built over the years. 2. Being the prestigious academics that Vanderbilt has to offer. Not to mention the beautiful campus and everything Nashville has to offer.

GFP: Vandy was hit hard with graduation do you expect to contribute right away?
JE: I just hope to come in and compete for a starting position. There are a lot of great ball players who deserve a chance as well.

GFP: Are you going to miss the cold weather in Connecticut?
JE: That's a funny question, because I don't know if I'm going to leave the cold. On I watched a game during a snow flurry! But yeah, I'm ready to leave the cold winters behind and get a chance to play baseball everyday rather then just 4 months out of the year in Connecticut.

GFP: I had read that you are involved a lot in the community. Can you tell us about some of the clinics you organized?
JE: Yeah, our high school program is really supportive with the little league teams in the area, so me and some of the seniors put together some clinics on our varsity field for the smaller kids hoping to come to Amity High School and put on the same colors as we did. So we get them practice t-shirt like we have and put them through an everyday practice like our team would go through. It a great time because they all laugh and have fun and we get to eat pizza after each clinic!

GFP: How honored were you to be named Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year?
JE: It's a great honor anytime you're even considered for an award like that you feel great knowing someone thinks highly of you, and to win it- its an unbelievable feeling. But I need to thank my teammates for that because without them I wouldn't have anything.

GFP: Is there anything else you'd like to say to the fans?
JE: I would like to say I love the passion they have for the sports teams at Vanderbilt and especially the baseball team. I can't wait to host a regional, and super regional at the hawk and hear the black and gold cheer! Also, they are the ones that motivate us to make the diving play or hit the walk-off homerun because of the intensity they bring to the games. So in advance I'd like to say thanks!

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