Eight student-athletes from Jesuit High School's Class of 2021 – all baseball players – signed with the college of their choice Wednesday (Nov. 11) at an early morning signing ceremony with family, friends, and coaches in the Tiger Palace at Jesuit.
Jesuit president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. and athletic director Terry Rupp '84 first addressed the signees, encouraging them to take what they've learned at Jesuit with them to college, and to continue to strive for excellence in their lives as 'Men for Others.'
The eight baseball seniors who signed Wednesday were:
Dominic Castellano – University of Central Florida
B.J. Graham – Tulane University
Nick Rodriguez – Charleston Southern University
Cole Russo – University of Central Florida
Alden Segui – University of North Carolina
Jackson Shembekar – University of Tampa
Joey Volini – University of South Florida
Ryan Skelly – Charleston Southern University
The eight signees Wednesday follow 12 baseball signees last school year, consecutive abundant classes of college-bound players who have been a part of a historic run. In the spring of 2019, under head coach Miguel Menendez, Jesuit baseball captured its 5th State title. Then in 2020, the Tigers started 9-0 and were ranked No. 1 in the nation by multiple media outlets before the season was cut short due to COVID-19.
Rodriguez, Graham, and Russo all were integral parts of the 2019 championship squad as sophomores, all batting at the top of the order and playing critical roles in big State playoff victories.
Rodriguez, an infielder, will be joined at Charleston Southern by Skelly, a right-handed pitcher. Russo, who plays catcher and infield, will be joined at UCF by Castellano, a left-handed pitcher. They follow in the footsteps of Jeff Hakanson '17, who was an All-American relief pitcher at UCF and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 5th round in June.
Graham, an outfielder who played a big role in the 2019 State Championship game triumph, joins two Tigers at Tulane who signed with the Green Wave last fall, Bennett Lee '20 and Turner Thompson '20.
Shembekar joins a storied UT program that is a perennial Division II National Championship contender. The Spartans won it all in 1998 with Rupp as their head coach and Menendez playing on the team.
Segui, a flame-throwing right-hander, is the latest in a long line of Jesuit players to sign with North Carolina, including Spencer Trayner '13. Volini, a left-handed pitcher, will play for the University of South Florida, joining numerous Tigers to play for the Bulls such as Jonathan Koscso '07.
This is the first of four signing ceremonies at Jesuit this school year, occurring on the first day of the NCAA’s fall signing period. The winter and spring signing ceremonies will take place in February and April, respectively, plus the football-only signing date on Dec. 16. Each year about 20-30 Jesuit student-athletes sign Letters of Intent to participate in college athletics.
Please view below a photo sideshow from Wednesday's ceremony, and a video is coming soon.