LINCOLN — Nebraska recruit Byron Hood was a high school freshman when he unexpectedly cleared 90 mph on the radar gun.
Suddenly, all those dreams about playing with the Huskers at Haymarket Park didn’t seem so unattainable. Soon the NU coaches were contacting his coach at Norris — and not just to get the latest on Hood’s potential-filled teammate, catcher Jakson Reetz.
“My stomach dropped,” Hood said of his reaction when he found out the Huskers were interested. “It was such a great feeling knowing that my hard work has paid off.”
Hood and Reetz both signed letters of intent two weeks ago to play baseball at Nebraska. A third in-state prospect, Omaha Westside’s Jacob Meyers, has also signed with the Huskers. Meyers, an outfielder and pitcher, is the son of former NU All-American Paul Meyers, who’s an associate athletic director at Nebraska.
The entire 2014 recruiting class was announced Monday, featuring nine players from six states.
Scott Schreiber, a 6-foot-3 infielder and pitcher, was the player of the year in Wisconsin last season. Outfielder Elijah Dilday is the fifth-best high school player in Missouri, according to Perfect Game. Reece Eddins is Prep Baseball’s second-best right-handed pitching recruit in Missouri. Right-handed pitcher Zack Engelken is the fifth-best recruit in Kansas, according to Perfect Game. The Huskers also added left-hander Jake McSteen of Virginia and right-hander Garett King of California.
Two-sport standout Monte Harrison, out of Lee’s Summit, Mo., isn’t yet included in Darin Erstad’s third recruiting class, but he made a non-binding pledge to sign a football scholarship in February.
Harrison, projected as an outfielder and rated 34st overall among high schoolers by Perfect Game, is expected to be an early-round pick in June’s MLB draft.
Same goes for Reetz.
Reetz was the MVP of this year’s Perfect Game USA All-America Game in August. He also won a world title with USA Baseball’s 18U National Team.
But Reetz, who’s considered a top 50 draft prospect, is trying not to think too far ahead, hoping to enjoy what’s left of his time at Norris.
Said Reetz: “I have two goals left: to win a state championship in basketball and to win a state championship in baseball.”
Hood seems to be taking a similar approach. He has work to do before stepping foot in Lincoln.
He’d like to get stronger and improve his pitching mechanics. He’ll certainly make a pitch to Reetz in an attempt to persuade one of his best friends to wait on the pros for a while.
No matter what Reetz does, though, Hood will always stay in touch with his buddy. He’s glad to see Reetz do well, but also motivated to reach his level.
“I’m definitely proud of him for what he does,” Hood said. “It makes me want to work that much harder, to be where he is.”