By FAMU Sports Information Intern Rashida Robinson
TALLAHASSEE, FL (Aug.16) – FAMU head baseball coach Jamey Shouppe has hit the ground running. Since acquiring the job as head baseball coach in mid July, he and assistant coaches Brett Richardson and Kevin Clethen have signed six new players who should be ready to help the Rattlers improve on consecutive 40-loss seasons.
“With any recruiting class, the main emphasis always has to be pitching. Unfortunately, even with the late start, we feel we got some very good players. We didn’t completely fill the needs of our pitching staff with the time we had to sign kids, but we did sign two arms. We did sign two kids that can come in and help us right away. One is a junior college kid, Blake Quillin, from Alabama Southern Community College. The other player is a high school kid by the name of Matt Schaeffer. Matt is a right-handed pitcher that pitched at John Carroll High School down in the southern part of the state. Anytime you see a kid who has played in the southern part of the state, you know they’ve played against good competition. John Carroll is a private school and they’ve always played against good competition. He is a freshman, and he too should come in and make a push for starting time,” Shouppe said.
Quillen is a 5’10”, 160 lb. pitcher, who can also play the outfield and has a good bat. He hit in the middle of the order at Alabama Southern. Schaeffer is 6’0”, 160 lbs., and was an honorable mention on the All-Treasure Coast team. He also played first base.
As an experienced Division I pitching coach, Shouppe has full knowledge of the importance of having skilled guys on the mound. “You’re only as good as the guys you put up on that hill. But, we’ll coach and do what we’re paid to do every day to get these guys better,” he said.
Schaeffer’s dad will also come aboard as a volunteer assistant coach. He was hugely successful with a traveling baseball team he helped start, known as the All-American Prospects. The renowned team won several national titles over the years. He will also be key in helping Shouppe locate the future athletes the Rattlers will need to achieve the championship status set forth by the coach.
The additional four recruits should help the Rattlers this season as well. Jeremy Barlow, was a teammate of Quillin’s at Alabama Southern. He is a 5’10”, 195 lb., catcher from Pace, Fl. Ryan Hutson will transfer in from Pasco Hernando Community College. The 6’2”, 195 lb., shortstop is originally from Cape Coral, FL. Ryan Kennedy is a 6’3”, 210 lb., first baseman from Merritt Island, FL. He played at DII Wake Tech, where he was awarded 2013 ABCA/Rawlings Gold Glove Award for Division II. He fielded a perfect 1.00 this season. The final recruit is Devin Perry from Crowder College. Perry is a versatile player, and exceptional athlete who should help improve the Rattler lineup.
With the recruits in hand, Shouppe is headed off to California for a week to begin preparations for Team USA 18-under national baseball. The initial team brought in over 144 athletes, vying to make the first 40-man cut. Shouppe was the pitching coordinator for the camp, which featured the best arms in the country. Following that, they will workout the players next week in California to select 20 players to represent the U.S.A. in Taiwan in the world championship. This is his second year coaching the team, but has experience reccommending kids for the team in the past.
This is a prestigious honor for Shouppe to have been selected to coach the team. “It’s a great opportunity for me to learn more about baseball and a great opportunity for me to carry out the Florida A&M University name. It also gives me an opportunity to form a solid relationship with R.B.I. baseball, which stands for Revitalizing Baseball in the Inner City. There are numerous contacts I’ll make while I’m in California, on the campus of Cal State Fullerton. It will get me contacts, which might result in acquiring players down the line through R.B.I. or other sources,” Shouppe said. “We actually won the world championship last year. I was a part of the staff that picked the kids that won that tournament in Taiwan, so we’re hoping to win another gold medal this year,” he added.
“Part of the misconception no matter where you are, is that you get good players, which we hope these six players are, and then it’s over with. The other half of the equation is the grind that is on the field and getting these kids ready and making them better. Especially in pitching. There’s so much organization that goes into successful pitching that allows these kids to get better. A part of that focus will be making sure they are comfortable in orientation and doing what they need to do to get settled in school. We’ll watch some college football with the Rattlers playing on Sept.1, and come back and start weight training and individual drills after Labor Day. Then we’ll get our 37 days of fall practice underway, spreading it out until November,” he concluded.