Prep Baseball Report

2016 SS Nick Derr commits to Florida State

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Nick Derr created a seismic ripple across the Midwest recruiting world when the 5-foot-11, 160-pound SS from Geneva HS (IL) became the first Class of 2016 prospect to verbally commit before even playing a game in high school.

The athletic freshman committed to Florida State University on Friday.

While freshmen pledging their allegiances have become fairly common in warm-weather states, Derr’s verbal is the first known baseball commitment as a freshman in Illinois since the Prep Baseball Report’s inception in 2005. Typically, recruiting in Illinois is more accelerated than its Midwest brethren.

Derr’s athletic gifts are unquestionable. A three-sport standout, he was the starting varsity quarterback for Geneva in the fall. He’s a sub-7 runner with arm strength and has an advanced approach at the plate.

The Prep Baseball Report first saw Derr as a seventh-grader two years ago – and there was little doubt he would establish himself as one of the top prospects in Illinois. Derr is slated to be an integral member on Geneva’s varsity baseball team this spring, a team that includes Illinois’ top-ranked senior prospect, RHP Andy Honiotes, who’s signed at the University of Miami.

Derr took time out of his schedule to answer a few questions.

What was it about Florida State that won you over?

First, I respected the other baseball programs, but it was the FSU Head Coach, Coaching staff and their great baseball program and tradition. I loved the school and campus too. They have such a great tradition over 30 plus seasons and they consistently win with class. Coach Martin is in the Hall of Fame and more importantly he is a great man and so are the other coaches which include Coach Martin Jr. and Coach Bell. Coach Martin came up to me on the second day of the camp and said some very nice things to me and we had a very long conversation. I felt so comfortable around Coach. After that conversation, I knew in my heart I wanted to be a Seminole. I then had multiple phone calls with Coach Martin and Coach Martin Jr. that went extremely well. I could have talked all night to them. Then I spent two more days this week in Tallahassee on an unofficial visit with the coaching staff, watched practice and met some of the Seminole baseball players, spent time on the campus and talked to school administrators. I want to go to business school and I know FSU will give me a very good education. The FSU coaches talk a lot about education and character. I am very honored and appreciative that I am a Florida State Seminole.

Did you know you wanted to verbally commit at such an early age?

No, because I love competing and playing all three sports - baseball, football and basketball. Plus I never focused on getting recruited when I played. I just wanted to do the best I can and help my team win and always try to improve. I have always split my time practicing across all three sports although I had to skip basketball this winter because of the college visits I had. Most recruited players play only baseball or spend most of their time playing baseball. I look forward to working hard and getting better each day in all areas of the game. There is a lot of work ahead of me.

I know there have been several freshmen to commit in Florida and California, but how do you feel being the first Midwest player to verbally commit as a freshman?

I feel extremely appreciative and honored for many reasons. As I mentioned, other recruited players play only baseball or spend most of their time playing baseball in the warm states. They take a ton of ground balls outside all year around and hit a lot. I am a shortstop and I have split my time between 3 sports. I know I can get a lot better in all areas with hard work over the next 4 years. There are a lot of good players in the Midwest.

Was the decision hard for you?

Yes, because there were other top D1 schools in the mix that I really respected. But it really came down to saying yes to a dream school and my respect for Coach Martin, Coach Martin Jr. and Coach Bell. Plus they are one of the very top D1 baseball programs in the country year after year.

A year ago, when you were in eighth grade, did you ever imagine you'd be verbally committed to one of the best programs in the country?

That was my goal but I did not imagine it happening my freshman year because I don't take anything for granted. In the middle of the summer things started heating up. My Elite Baseball team did great on the national circuit playing the best teams in the US this past summer and we placed second in the invite only 15U Perfect Game BCS National Championships in Fort Myers and I was the youngest player to make the all-tournament team given I play up an age group. During and after the summer, colleges started to get interest. Then I took a break from baseball and I was the starting Varsity Quarterback as a freshman at Geneva High School, which is a good 7A football program. After football season, I went to a couple college camps and then there were more colleges interested in me, which led me to accept and choose Florida State University. My dream came true early but it is only a milestone. There are a lot more milestones ahead of me academically and on the field. I am very blessed and thank Coach Martin and his coaching staff for having confidence in my overall abilities and me as a person.

Quarry Fieldhouse SLIDE 2-18-13