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Waldrop to become a Commodore

When it came time to choosing a college, Kyle Waldrop decided to keep his baseball talents in the state of Tennessee and play in the Southeastern Conference.

But not on Rocky Top. Waldrop will be on the visiting team when playing in UT’s Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

This 18-year-old Farragut High School All-state hitting and pitching whiz committed in early October to what he thinks is a rising Vanderbilt University program.

“When I was on my official visit I just fell in love with the campus, and fell in love with the coaching staff and the players,” Waldrop said of VU head coach Tim Corbin and his program who knocked Tennessee out of the SEC Baseball Tournament last spring. “I just feel like it’s the right place for me. It just felt like it was the right fit. I just built that relationship with the coaches right off the bat. When I hung out with the players we all just hit it off real well.

“The coaching staff, this is their second full year together, and that program’s on the upswing,” Waldrop added.

As for other schools, “Tennessee was in the running for a while, Mississippi State, Georgia and Georgia Tech and also Alabama and North Carolina, too,” Waldrop said.

The talented pitcher/first baseball led the Class AAA state champion Admirals in batting average (.503), RBIs (67) and home runs (10) on top of having a sizzling 0.78 earned run average as a pitcher.

“Kyle is a very talented kid,” FHS Head Coach Tommy Pharr said. “On the mound he’s a quality pitcher ... also hitting, he’s a gifted kid talent-wise, but he’s also a very hard worker too, very committed to what he’s doing. Very intelligent, obviously, because he’s going to Vandy. He’s kind of like a complete package in a lot of ways.”

For Waldrop, Vanderbilt had the best combination of baseball and academics. “That’s one thing that’s important too, it’s the best education you can get in the SEC,” he said of Vandy.

The Commodores apparently have a plan for Waldrop’s baseball services.

“My freshman year they want me to step in and play first base,” he said. “They have a senior right now who’s going to be leaving, so they want me to come in and fill that job. And my freshman year they want me to pitch some of the mid-week games (non-SEC games), and hopefully become a weekend starter later in my career.”

Waldrop also excelled during summer league ball as a member of the potent 17-year-old Knoxville Thunder who finished runner-up at the AAU National Tournament in Orlando, Fla. in July.

As a Tennessee All-Star during the Sun Belt Classic in Oklahoma in June, Waldrop went up against some of the nation’s better summer league high school teams and pitched Tennessee to the Sun Belt championship.

He was named the classic’s Outstanding Pitcher.

The talented Admiral will make it official during the National Letter of Intent signing period, which runs through mid-November and will begin Nov. 12.

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