MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — While many high school baseball players in West Virginia are scrambling to catch the eye of college coaches after losing their prep season in 2020, Parkersburg South senior Grant Hussey has known his college destination since 2018. The corner infielder/outfielder verbally committed to WVU shortly after his freshman season with the Patriots. He hit .385 in his first high school season.
“I remember going to football games there when I was little with my mom and dad. We have always been a Mountaineer family,” said Grant Hussey.
“It was always my goal to get seen early and know what I want to do early. It (the offer) definitely came as a surprise at that time.”
“I kind of brainwashed him from an early age, to be perfectly honest,” said Grant’s father, Steve Hussey. “I didn’t go to WVU but I grew up here and I have been a Mountaineer football and basketball fan since I was probably seven or eight years old. He got to go to plenty of football and basketball games growing up. We went to a baseball game when he was 12 and I kind of put the bug in his ear, wouldn’t it be cool if that’s you out there someday. At some point, that kind of took hold. All props to Randy Mazey and Steve Sabins. They are really doing well in recruiting and I think they are going to have good teams for some time to come.”
Hussey officially signed to become a Mountaineer in November. He has played all over the diamond in his prep career and says he likely fits in as a first baseman or corner outfielder at the college level.
“It is something I have looked forward to and have been working for ever since I started playing baseball,” said Grant Hussey. “It just shows all that I have been able to accomplish and I am starting a new chapter in my life.”
— WVU Baseball (@WVUBaseball) November 11, 2020
“Grant is a large, strong player with unique athleticism for his frame,” said WVU head coach Randy Mazey. “He is a versatile player with athleticism that will allow him to play corner infield, as well as corner outfield. Grant has a classic, left-handed swing that projects to hit for average, as well as power in the Big 12. He has continued to develop as a player and has made himself into one of the top players in the country for the 2021 class. Grant is a Mountaineer at heart, as he was born and raised in West Virginia.”
Despite having his junior season at South canceled by the pandemic, Hussey still had a busy summer competing in travel baseball. He played for a North Carolina-based team that played in tournaments across the country.
“I really felt bad for the seniors last year. That South team last year, I really felt like we could have done some good things. It was really disappointing to not have that season because we were just a week out from playing games,” Grant Hussey said.
“I had a full summer. COVID really didn’t affect that at all. Every kid on my team was committed to a Division I school. Our coaches were college coaches for many years. Our pitching coach just got done playing AAA ball. Being around those guys and learning from them has really affected me and how I look at the game.”
Ironically, players like Grant may be caught in a scheduling crunch if their high school teams perform well this spring. Due to Governor Jim Justice’s shutdown of high school sports from December to mid-February, baseball seasons will start and finish three weeks later than usual. Baseball games, which usually can be played in mid-March, will not begin until April 12.
The state baseball tournament is usually held in the first week of June. This year, the three-day event will be delayed until June 24-26. Summer leagues, such as collegiate leagues, American Legion or AAU teams will be in full swing by then.
“Basically you are putting kids in a position where they have to choose between the travel team and their high school team. I asked for one of two things — to allow administrative relief for kids to do both in a season and not be penalized for it, or to basically shorten the season so we finish up when we normally do around the first weekend of June. That was coming from the standpoint of the baseball community that I am in touch with, the other parents of kids that are in the same boat,” Steve Hussey said.
“I don’t envy any of the people in charge on the decisions they have to make, because there aren’t really any good ones. And I applaud where it is all coming from. They’re just trying to make sure that everyone gets a whole season, especially since we lost the whole season last year.”
To gear up for his freshman season at WVU, Grant has committed to compete in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League in Massachusetts throughout the summer. He is expected to report to the league in early-June, when the Patriots could still be competing in the early stages of the high school postseason.
“I’ve always raised Grant to finish something that he started. If he starts the season on the high school team, he should finish that. I feel like he should be with his high school team competing for the state championship,” Steve Hussey said.
“I would rather not be in position to make that decision. If he starts the season, he is going to finish it but I can’t say a lot of other people might make the same decision.”
Much like AAU basketball tournaments that are usually hosted in the spring and summer, many baseball players gain greater exposure to college coaches at summer tournaments.
“To make recruiting easier, a lot of college coaches will go to bigger travel ball tournaments in the summer where there are more teams,” Steve Hussey said. “They can basically stay in one place all day and see a whole bunch of different kids that might be a good fit for their program. Whereas, making a special trip to West Virginia to see somebody play one game is kind of a rarity.”