Baseball: Mount Carmel alum Jerry Houston changing from a Duck (Oregon) to Tiger (Missouri)
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media August 7, 2014 9:02PM
Jerry Houston | File photo
Updated: September 9, 2014 6:27AM
With several choices in front of him, Jerry Houston knew where he belonged.
A Mount Carmel grad who played his freshman year of college baseball at the University of Oregon in the spring, Houston announced Thursday he will transfer to the University of Missouri.
“Missouri had that college town feel, a great college town to play baseball in,” Houston said. “It’s the SEC (Southeastern Conference), so it’s great baseball. It felt like a good place to play college baseball.”
Houston also had offers on the table from junior college programs Iowa Western, the defending NJCAA D-I national champion, and South Suburban College, as well as NCAA Division I interest from Western Michigan and UIC.
Houston said Missouri finished a close second to Oregon when he made his choice while at Mount Carmel. However, when Houston came home after his freshman year, he knew what he had to do.
A slick-fielding infielder with speed to burn and a strong baseball IQ, Houston weighed all the options, among them being closer to home, playing time and financial considerations.
He had his destination in mind.
“Mizzou is a lot closer to home, my younger brother Jeremy is considering Mizzou, and my heart and head were set on it,” Houston said.
Houston was limited to just one at-bat in his freshman year for the Ducks. He kept at it though, being a baseball sponge to soak up as much as he could.
“The Pac-12 (conference) is the best baseball I’ve ever seen, just unreal with the pitching and speed,” Houston said. “I made sure I was always ready, worked my butt off, and if I wasn’t getting game reps, I didn’t let it get to me. I learned so much, and it was an unreal experience. The coaches helped me so much.”
Houston was a key ingredient on Mount Carmel’s 4A state championship team in 2013. Over the summer he helped the Southland Vikings to the Midwest Collegiate League title.
Houston is waiting to learn if he has to sit out a year because of the transfer.
“It’s a wait-and-see thing, something my dad is handling,” Houston said. “Chances are I’ll sit, but maybe I can play. We’ll see. You never know.”