Local standout Jay Dillard from T.L. Hanna High School saw a childhood dream come true Friday when he committed to play for the Clemson baseball program.
“As a kid growing up in Anderson, I grew up a Clemson fan,” Dillard told The Clemson Insider. “That was always the dream, so whenever I received an offer, that was a no-brainer for me and my family.”
Dillard, a class of 2022 middle infielder, received an offer from Clemson this past Monday. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound rising junior also had an offer from The Citadel and was garnering interest from a few other mid-major and Power Five schools in South Carolina, having seen his recruitment start to take off of late.
Clemson head coach Monte Lee was happy when Dillard gave him the good news of his verbal pledge to the Tigers.
“He was pretty excited for me,” Dillard said. “He emphasized that he wanted me and they wanted me. And I’ve been going to camps (Monte Lee Baseball Camps) for a while now, so they’ve seen me develop as a kid.”
According to Dillard, Lee said he sees him as an aggressive shortstop at the next level.
“You look at what he really recruits, he recruits a lot of aggressive shortstops,” Dillard said. “As of now, I’m a middle infielder. But when I get on campus, wherever they need me to play, I’ll be there.”
Dillard is playing summer baseball with the Dirtbags 16-and-under travel team based in Sedalia, North Carolina. This past weekend, he hit .421 and launched two home runs while playing in a Perfect Game WWBA 16U tournament in the Atlanta area.
Dillard gave a scouting report on what he brings to the table as both a hitter and a fielder.
“I’m aggressive at the plate swinging the bat,” he said. “In the field, my range is one of the things that helps me out the most. Plus defender. With my hands, I’d say my hands have been really well for me over the past couple of years.”
Dillard has been attending games at Clemson ever since he can remember, so he knows what to expect when he steps foot on campus to start his career as a Tiger in a couple of years.
“Growing up coming to all the games as a kid, I’ve been there watching games for years,” he said. “So, I’ve got a pretty good feel for what it’s like.”
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