Mayers chooses baseball, signs with Mississippi
Without football practice and Friday night games, Grove City High School senior Mike Mayers could concentrate on basketball and baseball.
It is the latter sport Mayers will continue to play in college. Last Wednesday he signed with the University of Mississippi.
"As soon as I got down there I knew that was the place," Mayers said. "You can feel baseball is a special thing down there. You can feel the baseball atmosphere even when nobody is around. You can still imagine that stadium packed with 14,000 people."
Mayers, the starting quarterback on last season's playoff football team, decided not to transfer last August when the South-Western City Schools levy failed. Instead, Mayers filled his time playing basketball and baseball.
"Being a three-sport athlete should help him at the next level," Grove City baseball coach Ryan Alexander said. "He's succeeded in all three sports and his big thing is he's worked hard every single day. Not many understand when you get to college you have to work every single day. He's had practice every single day of the year aside from 10 to 15 days or so."
Last season, Mayers (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) was 10-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 64 strikeouts. He was named first-team all-state in Division I.
"He was a tall, but skinny kid as a freshman," Alexander said. "He continued to grow and put on more weight. He's never been a kid that knows too much. Some who have had his success think they're good where they're at. Mike is always look to get better and that speaks a lot about him."
Mayers has neared 90 mph on his fastball this fall. He joined a team based in Virginia played against teams throughout the mid-Atlantic states in front of Major League Baseball scouts.
"Sometimes I think not having football is (a blessing in disguise)," Mayers said. "I didn't get hurt and I wasn't looking to play football in college."
Mississippi had seven players taken in last June's MLB draft. The Rebels (44-20) were ranked eighth in the nation before losing to fifth-ranked Virginia 5-1 in the Super Regionals.
The 44 wins were the second-most in school history behind 48 posted in 2005.
"They should be good again this year," Mayers said. "They should make the College World Series. I was told there would be a lot of opportunities for me to pitch as a starter right away. They have a lot of draft-eligible guys."