Several months after taking an unofficial visit to LSU’s campus, Lafayette High’s Miguel Reyes Jr. had a pretty good idea of where he wanted to continue his baseball career and education.
The Tigers were able to close the deal over the weekend, tracking Reyes — a rising junior — during a showcase event in which the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder has been playing with Marucci Elite’s travel ball team in Atlanta.
After he finished up playing on Sunday, Reyes had a message to contact LSU recruiting coordinator Andy Cannizaro, who’s been on hand evaluating talent at the tournament.
Cannizaro extended a scholarship offer to which Reyes, a third baseman/pitcher, immediately responded with a commitment in LSU’s Class of 2017.
“When he offered, I told him I wanted to commit,” Reyes said. “I then contacted (head) coach Paul Mainieri and (pitching) coach Alan Dunn. When I first committed, I was speechless. Coach Mainieri was excited for me to be there in two years.
“They really liked me on the mound and felt I could compete at the plate,” Reyes said. “They said I had raw power and could be a hitter as well. They liked my overall ability because I can play any position. They don’t know if I’m going to be an outfielder, pitcher, catcher or infielder.”
Reyes (6-1) was a part of a talented Lafayette High rotation that featured Bo Hardin and Emile Leger.
The Lions (27-10) advanced to the Class 5A state quarterfinals, where they were eliminated in a third and deciding game by eventual state champion Barbe.
“The kid has a lot of raw ability, which is what I’m sure they saw,” Lafayette baseball coach Sam Taulli said. “He has a lot of upside. He’s got a chance to be a top, quality player.”
Reyes, who was offered by Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, also drew interest from Tulane and would have made an unofficial visit had it not been for a conflict playing in a tournament.
Because of the events over the weekend, Reyes said his commitment is solid, reiterating the importance of his earlier visit to LSU.
“I enjoyed it and fell in love with LSU, and that was the place I wanted to go,” he said. “I wanted to go into my junior year and hopefully be offered so I could have the pressure off. I knew this was the place I would fit in the most.”
Reyes has pitched 3.2 innings in three relief appearances during the event in Atlanta as well as playing both first and third base. He’s also competed in tournaments in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Jackson, Miss.
With improving mechanics this season, the right-handed Reyes threw four pitches for strikes with his fastball topping out at 90. He also has a change-up, curve and slider.
“He did a really good job this year of mixing his pitches up,” Taulli said. “He shut out Denham Springs over there and at Barbe (7-6 win), he started and didn’t get the win, but he kept us in it and we won it at the end.”
Reyes started at outside linebacker on Lafayette High’s football team last season but opted not to return in the spring, instead choosing to focus solely on baseball.
“I couldn’t see myself being a football player in college,” He said. “I enjoyed playing football. It was fun and a lot of hard work which I liked. I knew my opportunity was in baseball, and I needed to back out of football and focus on this one sport.”