North Surry pitcher Brady Watts took his first official visit to the Virginia Military Institute in July. His recruitment picked up over the summer, and schools such as East Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Asheville came calling after his trip to Lexington, Virginia.
Watts took a couple of other visits, but VMI was a measuring stick that was unreachable for any other school clamoring for the left-hander’s services. The Greyhound senior committed to the Keydets in mid-August, and on Wednesday, Watts signed his Letter of Intent to VMI in front of friends and family at North Surry High School.
“It’s nice that it’s finally here,” Watts said. “I’m happy to finally signed. They stayed with me the whole time. I wasn’t just a number to them. Every time I played it seemed like they were there and actually showed me that they wanted me.”
VMI scouted the pitcher primarily this summer for the Carolina Rockies and at the Powerade State Games for Region 7. His head recruiter was Associate Head Coach Travis Beasley, and Watts credits his strong relationship with the VMI coaching staff as why he decided on committing to the Keydets.
“On my visit I really liked the coaching staff,” Watts said. “Actually being with them was the same as talking on the phone with them. They were as cool as can be.”
In 2015, Watts logged 67 1/3 innings for North Surry with a 7-1 record and a 2.59 ERA. He also displayed a powerful mix of electric stuff and great control, striking out 96 batters while only walking 36.
Greyhound coach Tony Martin always knew that Watts had an opportunity to play college baseball and could see his talents when he first arrived at North Surry in 2014.
“He had good size to him, a good body, left handed, and he had a high-potential that you could always see,” Martin said. “He has a great family and he is just such a competitor. He works hard to improve himself every day.”
The upcoming spring will be Brady’s third season on the varsity squad, and North Surry will look to follow up an impressive season last year when the Greyhounds made it all the way to the 2A Western Regional Final.
The two-time All-Conference pitcher knows he still has his senior season at North Surry to look forward to, but Watts already has some goals set for his first year at VMI. He hopes to make an impact as a freshman whether its as a starter or out of the bullpen, and he’ll rely on a fastball in the upper 80s and some quality off-speed stuff when he arrives on campus next fall.
His parents, Chad and Susie Watts, are relieved that the paperwork is finally official, but they had some concerns that Brady wouldn’t want to spend his college years in a military atmosphere at VMI.
In the end, the opportunity to play in the strong Southern Conference and for a school that he felt like truly valued and wanted his talent proved to be too much to pass up, and his parents couldn’t be more pleased.
“It was one of the places where we felt like he had to make the decision,” said Chad. “If he was going to get into that military atmosphere, he had to make the decision, and in the end he did. I’m happy. I was all for it.”
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16