UF baseball picks up commit
Published: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 12:07 a.m.
Williston High School baseball player Max White didn't let shoulder surgery keep him from achieving a goal.
White, a pitcher/outfielder, verbally committed Friday to play at Florida. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior left-hander missed most of his junior season with the Red Devils while recovering from surgery on his pitching shoulder.
“I have had to work double as hard to get back to where I needed to be,” White said of his surgery. “I need to keep it going because I would actually like to earn a spot with (UF).”
As a sophomore, White batted .387 with 25 RBIs, 23 runs scored and 10 stolen bases while going 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched.
After receiving several offers from Division I schools, including LSU, UCF, N.C. State, Maryland, and North Florida, White's decision to play for the Gators was an easy one.
“My summer coach (Florida Hardballers') John Colacci played a huge role in getting me connected with Coach (Kevin) O'Sullivan and UF. Coach Colacci is always in touch with all of the major scouts and coaches from the area and that played a great part in getting me noticed,” White said.
Colacci said there is a “good working relationship” between the Hardballers and Florida's coaching staff.
“When Max got on board back when he was a freshman, I kept in touch with Sully (O'Sullivan) about him and since then, Sully has liked what he has seen,” Colacci said.
Former Williston coach Jim Smith, who retired in the spring after coaching the Red Devils for 15 seasons, said the decision for White to sit out most of his junior year will pay dividends.
“We decided to go on the side of caution, and he wound up only having around 15 to 20 at-bats for us as a junior,” Smith said. “It was in Max's best interests to not come back until he was fully recovered, which wasn't until April.”
White said he was told by O'Sullivan that he is being recruited primarily as an outfielder with the possibility of being used on the mound.
“Coach O'Sullivan mentioned to me that he wanted to see how many players he had coming back, and where the open spots will be when it is time for me to play for them,” White said.
The Hardballers, who practice at St. Francis Catholic High School, have produced several recent area professional players and Division I signees, including LeVon Washington (Buchholz), Derrick Robinson (P.K. Yonge), Will Allen (Buchholz), Tyler Holt (Gainesville) and Jacob Tillotson (Columbia).
While White is focusing on his senior season with Williston, he's excited about the possibility of playing for the Gators.
“I have always wanted to play for Florida,” he said. “To be in the situation where all of my hard work could possibly lead me to play for them — that is a great feeling. I just want to keep at it and I especially do not want them (UF) to see me slack off.”
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