Jackson Sanders signs to play baseball at Auburn
Published 7:13 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023
After a long period of waiting, Jackson Sanders signed the dotted line on Wednesday to continue his baseball career at Auburn.
Wednesday was the complete culmination of a lifetime of dreaming for Sanders. Sanders has been a standout baseball player for Valley High School since before he entered his freshman year.
“It means a lot,” Sanders said. “Everybody has been a big part of this. Just having everybody enjoy this moment, especially me, it means a lot.”
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For Sanders, there was never another school on his mind. Sanders was always going to be an Auburn Tiger.
Sanders made that decision as a kid sitting in the stands watching the Tigers. Sanders then committed to play for the program in February of 2020. His signing on Wednesday just made it official.
“It’s been a dream school since I was a little kid growing up and going to games,” Sanders said. “It’s been a great support staff, it’s been an honor.”
There will be no difference between the way he is going to attack hitters at the collegiate level and the way he has attacked them his whole life.
Sanders plans to bring the same mindset that he has used throughout his high school career into each game at Auburn.
“It’s going to be the same thing,” Sanders said. “Just attack the hitters, try to win the game.”
Sanders is one of the top pitching prospects in the 2024 graduating class, and he is a big landing for the Tigers’ upcoming recruiting class. Last season, Sanders posted a 2.24 ERA with 51 strikeouts, and he held a .387 batting average.
“Auburn is getting a very high IQ player,” Sanders said. “A guy that knows baseball. A guy that has a competitive edge against everybody and that won’t quit.”
There have been several people that have helped Sanders get to where he is today. Friends from preschool, teachers and family members were all there in attendance. Nobody has been as pivotal to Sanders’ success as his father.
Sanders’ dad has been right beside him coaching him in some form since he first began picking up a baseball. Sanders credits his dad for getting him to the baseball field on days when even he did not want to go.
“My dad has been the rock of the foundation of the grind,” Sanders said. “He’d asked me to go sometimes when I didn’t feel like it. He’s always there pushing me.”
With the signing out of the way, Sanders is now turning his full attention to his senior season with Valley. The Rams open the season on Feb. 15, and Sanders is looking to take the team deep into the postseason.
“I’ve got to take one thing at a time, can’t look at the future,” Sanders said. “[I’ve] got to worry about the present right now and worry about winning a state championship here.”
Sanders’ role as a leader will continue to increase this season. While he was growing up in the program, several leaders showed him the ropes.
“Seventh or eighth grade, when I played up, they really matured me quick,” Sanders said. “They showed me what it meant to be a teammate, a player, even a high school senior.
Now, Sanders hopes to be that same type of role model to the current underclassmen so that they could possibly be in his position in the future.
“Be a leader, not a follower,” Sanders said. “Always do what you want to do, don’t worry about what everybody else is doing. Always make your own path, God’s got a plan.”
Sanders and his family thanked several teachers and coaches who have helped him get to this point. Sanders and his entire family believe that Valley was the best place for him and his high school journey. Even though Sanders is becoming a Tiger, he will always be a Ram.
“The infrastructure here is undeniably one of the best,” Sanders said. “If you’re looking to grow and become a player, this is the spot. The coaches always push you.”
“The memories,” Sanders said about what he would miss at Valley High School. “This is a great school. Teachers are just always supportive. The coaching staff is unbelievable.”