Inside the Recruitment: '15 LHP/OF Nick Buchanan commits to Florida Southern

Nick Buchanan, LHP/OF, Westerville Central HS, Class of 2015

PBR: Why did you choose Florida Southern?

Buchanan: Academics are the most important to me! Florida Southern College has a strong Pre-Engineering program and is ranked in the top five nationally for Southern colleges. It also has a rich tradition in college baseball having won 9 NCAA National Championships. I have always dreamed of playing college baseball in the south. Florida Southern wants me to be a two way player and made a generous athletic and academic scholarship offer. Ohio also has a rich tradition in baseball. I hope to bring our Ohio baseball traditions into the south!

PBR: What other schools were you considering?

Buchanan: I was blessed to be recruited by colleges in the Midwest, Southeast and South. Closer to home,  I considered Wright State, Marshall, Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio Dominican, Marietta and Dennison. In the Southeast, I considered the University of Richmond and Duke. Ultimately, Florida Southern College was the right fit for me.

PBR: Where did the coaches first see you?  How did your relationship develop with them?

Buchanan: My Mom is an alumnus of Florida Southern, so I already knew about the college and their rich baseball tradition. Lance Niekro, Florida Southern's head coach and the son of former knuckleballer, Joe Niekro, saw my recruiting video and contacted me to make a visit. Coach Jeff Keifer and Todd Spinner, my Principal at Westerville Central were very supportive of my bid to play baseball at Florida Southern. My parents and I traveled to Lakeland, Florida for a tryout at Historic Henley Field where the Detroit Tigers had their spring training for many years. I had a solid tryout and they offered me a scholarship that day. 

PBR: Was distance from home a factor in your decision?

Buchanan: I am very close with my parents and my two older brothers so it was a difficult decision for me to travel so far from home. Yet it's a great opportunity academically and to take my game to the next level.

PBR: You are a two-way prospect, what role do the coaches expect you to play your first year on campus?

Buchanan: Coach Niekro told me I will pitch my first year and expects me to earn my way into the starting lineup at the plate and in the outfield.

PBR:  Your high school team has high expectations going into the spring.  Do you feel any added pressure now that it is your senior season?

Buchanan: We have a saying in my family that "Pressure is a Privilege", so I embrace my role as a Senior leader on my team. I am blessed to have great teammates who always have my back and outstanding coaches to lead us. Coach Keifer has done a great job of reminding us to have fun along the way, while keeping us grounded and very focused!

PBR: Who has had the biggest impact on you as a baseball player?

Buchanan: I grew up in a very athletic family. My father played college baseball and my brothers are both college athletes. My parents never pushed us into sports; their only mandate was to take good care of the only body that God gave us. My Dad was also a left handed pitcher in college and he taught me to embrace the responsibility I have as a scholar-athlete to be a leader on and off the field.

PBR: What were your stats this spring season?

Buchanan: My academic/athletic statistics for the 2014 high school season were a 4.50 GPA and class rank: 3/366. As a left handed pitcher and left handed hitter, I led my team to the 2014 Ohio Capital Conference league championship and District final with a 7-1 pitching record and a 0.98 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 43 innings; I was our clean up hitter as well with a .377 batting average and .571 slugging percentage including a 19 game consecutive hitting streak. Our team record was 24-4.  I was voted the 2014 Team MVP by my teammates and coaches and was selected 1st team All OCC. Ultimately, I was also selected 1st team All Central District in Division 1. Including my summer baseball stats with the Columbus Cobras, I had 11 home runs, 22 doubles and 5 triples in 2014.

PBR: Who is the toughest hitter that you have faced in Ohio?

Buchanan: As a pitcher, I have great respect for the hitters in Central Ohio. Yet rather than recognize a single hitter, I give props to the 2014 Grove City Greyhounds. As a team, they were very well coached and disciplined hitters.