Jake Slaughter Leads Louisiana's 2016 Class

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

Two summers ago, Jake Gautreau—the former recruiting coordinator for Tulane— settled in at an event in New Orleans. It was the first one of the summer, but it didn’t take long for Gautreau to see a player he liked.

“I’m sitting there and there’s this shortstop that over the course of three innings, made three plays to his right in the hole,” he said. “The crazy thing was they were all pretty much the same play. Even more impressive was he found a way to get around these balls, not only field them on the run, but throw it across the diamond with some arm strength and accuracy. After the second one I couldn’t believe it and the third one happened and I was kind of blown away by him.”

Gautreau suspected he was at least a junior and went down to the coach after the game to get more information. It was then that he found out the player, 2016 SS Jake Slaughter (Ouachita Christian School, LA) had just finished his freshman year. Gautreau followed him for a couple weeks and got to know the family. Within a month and a half of that first game, Slaughter was verbally committed to Tulane.

“I thought he was one of the best young players I had seen in a long, long time,” Gautreau said. “He was way ahead of his time defensively.”

When Gautreau first saw him, his only knock against Slaughter was that his bat seemed weak. But being a rising sophomore explained that and a year later, Slaughter added strength and was starting to show production at the plate.

“I want to say the first six or eight at-bats, if he swung, he either hit a line drive through somebody or out of the ballpark,” Gautreau said. “He had grown and gained a lot of strength over that year. When I first recruited him, he was just kind of a guy that put the barrel on the ball and he may single or double you to death. Now he’s rifling balls in the gaps and hitting them way out.”

But there was a coaching change at Tulane with head coach Rick Jones retiring for health reasons and new head coach David Pierce bringing his assistants over from Sam Houston State. That prompted Slaughter to de-commit and explore his options again.

“It wasn’t as tough because all the coaches left,” Slaughter said. “Coach Geautreau, he was the main reason I chose Tulane. Since he wasn’t there anymore, I didn’t really want to be there as much.”

It came down to Louisiana State and Mississippi with Slaughter verbally committing to the Tigers before the fall. It capped a busy summer for him as he traveled to several tournaments with Team Louisiana, facing good competition and learning that he could play at that level.

“We got to see a lot of pitchers that through 90-plus and we got to play some really great teams,” Slaughter said. “The team that beat us in Fort Myers got second place in the rest of the tournament.”

Slaughter also plays football and just scored two touchdowns in the Division IV state championship on the way to a 52-6 win. He has a highlight video on YouTube from his sophomore season, which puts his athleticism and strength on clear display as he shakes defenders and makes tough catches. All of that translates to his defense, something he takes pride in and continues to work on improving.

“Coach works with us on throwing so we can build up our arm strength throwing across the infield,” he said. “I like to work on angles in the infield because you can cut off a lot of throws and make it a lot of faster if you take a good angle to the ball.”

Slaughter is well known by coaches within the state, but he still flies under the radar beyond Louisiana borders. That could change next summer.

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