Madison sophomore pitcher-shortstop Andy McGuire knew his recruiting experience was about to intensify last month when the Warhawks reported to their first spring break tournament game in Charleston, S.C., and encountered three waiting spectators — college coaches from the universities of South Carolina, Florida and Texas.
“It was weird,” McGuire said. “Before, I hadn’t played in front of anyone that big. Playing at a local high school field and seeing three college coaches there from three pretty big-time schools kind of opens your eyes.”
Opened eyes, but now closed recruiting process. McGuire unofficially committed this past weekend to Texas, bypassing South Carolina, Florida and Virginia.
South Carolina was the runner-up choice for the player that at least one college recruiter has told Madison Coach Mark Gjormand has the potential to be selected in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft.
“I wanted to do something like this,” said McGuire, whose mother and her family grew up in the Dallas area. “I wanted to [commit] early, get it over with. It takes a huge load off.”
McGuire’s first exposure to the University of Texas was not through baseball but swimming. He attended swim camp there when he was 12 and loved the campus but learned that he had no interest in the life and training regimen of a college swimmer. He shifted his focus to baseball.
This season, McGuire is batting .346 with 10 steals in 11 tries and 12 RBI. On the mound, he is 3-1 with five saves and a 1.03 ERA.
Texas associate head Coach Tommy Harmon observed McGuire at practice Thursday and stayed in the area to watch him pitch a complete game Friday against Marshall. McGuire’s future likely is at shortstop.
The Longhorns, who have won a nation-best 82 games in the College World Series, generally do not stray beyond their border to find players. The program’s 34-man roster features only three players from outside Texas.
No player from Virginia is believed to have ever seen action for the Texas baseball team, according to a school spokesman.
Two Arlington residents — pitcher Frank Filtsch (1966) and first baseman Lyndon Carter (1972) — were on the Longhorns’ roster but never got into a game. West Springfield’s Pack Landfair earned three varsity letters as a bullpen catcher from 2003 to ‘05 but did not see game action.
The only Texas baseball players from Maryland, according to school records, have been Broadneck pitcher Brian Toronto, who appeared in eight games in 1991, and Broadneck catcher Preston Pehrson, who played in 12 games, starting five, for the Longhorns in 2006.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Gjormand said. “He’s doing things most sophomores don’t do. You could see what [college coaches] are seeing. I see it every day in practice. At shortstop, he jumps the ball. He attacks it. His hands are ridiculously quick. He’s got great footwork. You can just see it in his movement. Coach Harmon the other night was going on and on about his presence on the field and the way he carries himself.
“He’s a tunnel-vision kid. He wants to be the best and he knows he has work to do to be the best. We want him to enjoy the progression of becoming a great player. He’s doing that.”
McGuire’s brother, switch-hitting senior first baseman-outfielder Ryan McGuire, who played at Madison for two years and now attends Heritage High in Littleton, Colo., has committed to Odessa College, a junior college in Texas. The McGuires hope to eventually play together for the Longhorns.