Prep Baseball Report

Q&A: DeAndre Shelton

By Mike Maerz
Director of Florida Operations/Area Scout

DeAndre Shelton2017 MIF DeAndre Shelton (West Orange HS, FL) loves to play against the best, but knows that in order to compete at that level, it takes more than “just wanting it.” Hard work, determination, and the mindset of believing in who you are and what you can accomplish will give you the best opportunity to succeed. Those extra reps in the weight room, in the cage, on the field, etc., would not only improve his skill set, but drive him to get better every day.

This past fall, Shelton started to take his game to another level as Division I interest in the form of e-mails, letters, and calls started to come in. He wanted to play in a competitive conference at the next level, but also wanted to stay reasonably close to home so that he could visit his family. One of the key factors that played an impact in his decision was what program at the next level had a coaching staff that would connect with him and help to improve his game.  The Alabama coaching staff stood out to Shelton right away because of the warmth and family-like feeling he got when he met with them. Along with a new baseball stadium and top-notch facilities, Alabama became the obvious choice.

Ranked No. 51 in Florida and No. 179 in the Overall Rankings, Shelton will be looking to help West Orange advance to the state tournament this season and with the talent they have on their current team, he feels like that goal is truly possible. Once the high school season ends, Shelton will be looking forward to the summer with the Orlando Scorpions and after being a part of the 2017 Prime team that saw a number of clutch performances and walk-off hits, he’s excited as to what could possibly come next. You better believe that he will be ready to bring his best stuff every day so he can do whatever he can to help his team reach the top.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?
Shelton: My expectations of the recruiting process were that a college would see me play a strong game and then offer me the next weekend. The things I expected were different so it started off a little confusing at first because I had early interest from local schools but, overall once I found the right program it ran pretty smoothly.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?
Shelton: I was looking for a college in a competitive conference and players at the college that relate to me at their program to know I can be successful there. Also a great coaching staff and weather was important to picking the right college.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?
Shelton: Yes, I wanted to stay close to home so I could visit my family a lot.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?
Shelton: Well actually it started heating up for me in my 2015 fall season, I started getting more letters and calls from colleges. There was no particular event for me though. I sent some video to my college of interest and then I worked out in front of them and they liked me.

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?
Shelton: They first saw me this year on video footage then called me and wanted to see me in person so then a week later I went to a winter baseball camp.

PBR: What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?
Shelton: What I loved most about Alabama was the coaching staff. They treated me like I was family before they even got to see me play. Also seeing the amazing new baseball stadium and all the facilities it made it pretty easy to decide I wanted to go there.

7. What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?
Shelton: South Florida and Alabama State.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?
Shelton: I have faced one of my old teammates named Oraj Anu and he is one of the best hitters in the 2017 class.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?
Shelton: I realized I was a college level player when I made varsity as a 10th grader at West Orange and starting getting D-I level interest.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?
Shelton: My advice to young baseball players would be don’t let anybody define you, work hard every day to get better and know that no matter how bad your circumstance, it does not have to be your conclusion.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?
Shelton: My most memorable moment would be hitting a home run at my high school against my old school I transferred from, it will definitely be one I keep in the books.

PBR: Preview your spring season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?
My high school team will be very good. We have 11 commits and I know if we play hard we are states bound!

PBR: Where do you play in the summer/fall? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?
Shelton: In the summer and fall I plan to play on the Orlando Scorpions Prime 2017 team. So far, my most memorable event with them would have to be going to the 2015 WWBA Underclass Championship where we ended up with multiple walk-offs and clutch hits.