Matt Schultz talks about signing to play baseball at Auburn University.
Additional article can be found here. Photos from signing day can be found here.
Left back – Tadd Gibson (ESP) , Right Back Robert Kaminski (OEHS),
Left Front - Kevin Sullivan, Center – Matt Schultz and Right Front – Jim Vera
Q&A with Matt Schultz:
What does this National Letter of Intent signing day means to you?
This is a special day that I have looked forward to for a long time. Achieving one of my goals and being able to share it with my family and the people that have supported me throughout my life, makes it extra rewarding.
How did you get to this point today?
It starts with my parents. I have to say they have always been there for me no matter what. They have guided me through all situations, not just sports. I couldn’t be where I’m at today without their love, their discipline around sports and school work, and the work ethic they have instilled in me. I have been fortunate to have great coaches (including my dad), great friends of the family who have experience at high levels in baseball, great teammates, and have been given great opportunities to prove myself against top level competition.
When did you know a Division I scholarship was a possibility?
Actually, it was a little later than most of the guys I played summer ball with the past couple of years. Obviously, I missed about a year of key recruiting time with my injury. College coaches really took a wait-and-see approach to see if I could still hit the upper 80s with my fastball. Coach Vera was great about easing me into pitching again this past spring at OEHS with some low pitch counts and closely monitoring the weather, which allowed my arm additional time to rehab and get stronger. Once the weather started to warm up, I began throwing in the low to mid-90s, and colleges really started to take notice. I started hearing from schools from all over the country. It was an exciting whirlwind of 4 or 5 months.
Are you surprised at your success after your Tommy John surgery?
I can’t thank Dr. Romeo, and the staff at ATI enough for the giving me the chance to pitch again. Things are quickly put into perspective when something you love to do is taken away from you. Dr. Romeo is the best and assured me that through hard work I would pitch again. The positive support and rehab program at ATI has been phenomenal. I can’t thank them enough for helping me pursue my dreams.
How would you like to finish your high school career?
I would love to win a conference championship with my teammates for Coach Vera and for OEHS. I want to be one of the first classes to win an SPC championship, create excellence, and set the standard for the future of OEHS baseball. Personally, I want to stay healthy, lead my team to victory each time that I am on the mound, and hit well. Pitchers can be great hitters!
What does it mean to play baseball in the tough SEC conference?
It is the ultimate. Hands down, it is the toughest college baseball conference in the country. I have always wanted to prove I can play against the best and this is my opportunity. It will be a lot of fun to experience baseball in the South and the rivalries of the SEC. The Auburn fan base is amazing and really love their baseball. I really felt comfortable on the Auburn campus, with their players and with their coaching staff. The facilities are unbelievable and their schedule includes all the top teams in the country.
What about the professional baseball and the MLB?
Every kid dreams of playing professional baseball and I’m no different. I have established a plan to attend Auburn, pursue my college degree and continue to develop my pitching talents under a great coaching staff. I am very excited about the future at Auburn University and the opportunity they have given me. I want to help them beat ‘Bama!!! However, if the opportunity to play in the MLB presents itself, I would evaluate all factors and consider it a great honor, and accomplishment, to be entered into the draft.
Any other last thoughts on signing day?
Seeing my family, my coaches, and friends here smiling and being a part of it is something I will always remember. My mom, dad, and sisters mean a lot to me in terms of the support system I have in place at home. They have sacrificed a lot of time, and money, to make today possible. Hopefully, my signing says thank you in some little way, and they understand how much I appreciate what they have done for me. I want to thank Coach Vera, Coach Kaminski, and Coach Blankenburg for their guidance and support, during my time at OEHS. Also, signing at Elite Sports Performance (ESP)is meaningful since I work and train here, and this place has been such a special part of my high school life. Kevin, Deli and Tadd have helped me every step of the way from training techniques to conversations with college coaches and pro scouts. Thanks guys!
From Jim Vera – Oswego East High School Head Baseball Coach
Matt Schultz is a testament to the importance of hard work and perseverance. His love of the game, and his commitment to excellence have made him not only a leader on the field, but an inspiration to all of his teammates and everyone in the OEHS baseball program. We are proud to have been able to work with him and see his success, and we could not be happier for Matt and his family. Good things truly do happen to good people.
From Kevin Sullivan – ESP Trainer and Matt’s Summer Coach
I’m very happy for Matt and it is great to see him smiling on his signing day. He has worked hard and was a pleasure to coach. It was a crazy and fun summer with college coaches and professional scouts constantly wanting to know about Matt’s pitching schedule. Our team was stocked with D1 guys and Matt really stood out as a leader on and off the field. Matt is a fantastic talent and will do very well in either path he follows whether it be at Auburn or in professional baseball.
From Mark Dalesandro – ESP Owner
Schultzy has been a hard-working kid from a classy family since Day 1. I’m a believer in him and the sky is the limit. I played in the big leagues for a number of years and believe me Schultzy has the talent and make up to pitch “in the show” someday. All the scouts I have talked to think he is a special talent and will be monitoring his progress closely this spring. I am proud he is a part of the ESP family and look forward to following his career for many, many years to come.
From Tadd Gibson – ESP Owner & Family Advisor
Today is a special day for me seeing Matt accept a college scholarship. I have known Matt since he first started throwing something besides a fastball when he was 11 or 12 years old. Seeing the transformation into the player he is today has been an exciting process. We all know what kind of baseball talent Matt Schultz has become, but what is also important to recognize is the young man he has become as well. He is a great role model for young baseball players all over and is the type of kid you would be proud to have as a son. It is very gratifying to me to see a kid who hasn’t had an easy ride to get a scholarship. His journey is one that anyone who has ever played baseball can relate. He didn’t have any relatives that played pro ball, there were days when he struggled to throw strikes, there were days he was frustrated his dad was his youth coach, there were days his teams weren’t that good, there were days his defense let him down and there was a potential dream shattering injury just 18 short months ago. Despite all that, Matt’s demeanor, his passion, his preparation and approach to the game never wavered. I personally have seen lots of talented baseball guys fail at the college and professional levels for a variety of reasons. Matt’s focus, his great work ethic, his humble attitude and his great support system will all play key parts in his success formula for many years to come. Regardless of the eventual outcome, I know Matt Schultz has already made me, his family and the Oswego community very proud. I wish him the best of luck in the future with whatever baseball path he chooses to follow.