TAMPA – As the son of a former Major League pitcher and the younger brother of one of baseball’s top prospects, Ryan McCullers has spent his lifetime trying to live up to the family name.
Wednesday was his validation.
Jesuit’s senior catcher signed his college scholarship with Middle Tennessee State during a six-player ceremony at his high school.
“I think this is a really good moment for me to really kind of put myself on the map and show that I can also play, too,” McCullers said. “I can try to go to college and do what my brother did, but in my own way.”
McCullers took advantage of his family’s success to become a college prospect himself. When Lance – the 2012 national high school player of the year and an Astros minor leaguer – was pitching, McCullers would catch.
“That’s where I learned most of my stuff from,” McCullers said.
Wednesday, he showed that what he learned was enough to join a Division I program.
The morning ceremony also served as the latest milestone for Jesuit’s nationally respected baseball program.
Outfielder Ricky Caldevilla signed with USF. He batted .400 with a team-high 33 RBIs last season. Three Jesuit alums were on the Bulls’ roster last year.
Hunter Van Horn signed to pitch at LSU. The 6-foot-2 lefty posted a 0.95 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 14.2 innings last spring.
Outfielder/pitcher Evan Cannan will play at High Point University in North Carolina. He batted .354 and had a 2.33 ERA as a junior.
Two other Tigers signed with college programs.
Noah Menendez will join the young men’s lacrosse program at the University of Tampa.
Wrestler Austin Underwood signed with Virginia. He was the Class 2A runnerup at 220 pounds last season.