Amy Shockley/Jeff Hurndon Photography
Eagle’s Landing Christian outfielder Jacob Heyward (sitting) signed a college scholarship with Miami on Monday. Looking on was his mother, Laura. Sitting in the back was father, Eugene; brother Jason, and ELCA coach Doug Campbell.
McDONOUGH — Jacob Heyward had an opportunity to play his college baseball locally with offers from both Georgia and Georgia Tech, but the Eagle’s Landing Christian standout chose another route.
Flanked by his parents and older brother, Jason, the younger Heyward signed a scholarship with powerhouse Miami on Monday.
“I just wanted to get away from Georgia and experience life,” Heyward said. “I wanted to see something new. I think Miami will be a good fit. They have some really good coaches. I feel that it is a really good place to be.”
Miami is one of the premier programs in the country that has produced several major league players.
Heyward was recruited by Gino DiMare, who is considered one of the top college recruiters in the country. He is also the hitting and outfielders coach for the Hurricanes. Last season, Miami’s recruiting class was ranked ninth-best in the country by Baseball America.
“All that plays into your decision,” Heyward said. “I’ve always wanted to win, and I think Miami has a great program. They know what they are doing down there, and they have produced a lot of pro players.”
Last season, Heyward hit .333 with six home runs and 30 RBIs to lead ELCA to the Region 5-A championship and quarterfinals of the state tournament. He had 32 walks with a .565 on-base percentage.
“I’m definitely pleased with his decision to sign early,” ELCA coach Doug Campbell said. “Miami is a great opportunity for him. Signing with a school like that shows his potential because they are a top program. Jacob also has some room to grow as a player.”
With the signing out the way, Heyward said he can now set his sights on the upcoming season. With its entire lineup back, except pitcher Kevin Martin, who is now at Tennessee Tech, the Chargers are one of the favors to contend for the title.
There is still a possibility that Heyward might get drafted. He said he has been talking to a few professional scouts, but his main focus is helping the team win a state title.
“We feel like we can do it,” Heyward said. “We have been working towards that goal.”