It’s a difficult “after the comma” for many underclass players, and one that Colin Carrejo was eager to shed.
He just wasn’t quite sure of the path to get there, even as inevitable as it may have seemed; the 2023 outfielder ended up committing to the University of Texas at San Antonio, the same school both of his parents went to and a place that he always had his eye on.
“I really started the recruiting process pretty late, it was the summer I got invited to the Future Stars Series was when I started talking to college coaches,” Carrejo said. “I was never doing big showcases or big tournaments, I was kind of an under the radar kid. This summer, I really grew a lot, and I grew in the game and started to be a louder name. That’s when coaches started calling in. Coach Hallmark from UTSA, the way they brought me in, it made me feel like home. Both of my parents went there; my dad played baseball there and my mom played volleyball there, it’s kind of like a legacy thing for me. It felt like home when I stepped on campus.”
Carrejo said eventually going to UTSA was something that had always been in the back of his mind since he was little, being hopeful to follow in his father’s footsteps with the baseball program. It wasn’t always a given that it would go that way, however.
A strong showing this summer — including a performance in the Future Stars Series Underclass Combine that earned him an invite to the Underclass Elite event — had him attracting significant interest from across the country, a process that proved to be a little tough to handle in the beginning.
“At first, it was pretty intimidating,” he said. “You feel like they’re a lot higher up than you are, and that you have to act differently, but what I noticed is if they’re good coaches, they’ll treat you like family and treat you like you deserve the world. That’s what Coach Hallmark really did with me, he brought me in and made me feel welcomed. But, talking to college coaches is pretty intimidating, especially on the phone where you don’t really know who they are yet. When I started that for the first time, it was pretty scary.”
Carrejo encourages players who are either still in the position he was, or soon will be as their recruiting process starts to open up, to just be honest with coaches and to also utilize their social media platforms to help generate exposure.
The latter is something that the big-bodied outfielder has seen plenty of at Future Stars Series events, getting seen by a bevy of big league scouts and executives, as well as college coaches, at the Underclass Combine and Underclass Elite.
“The Elite event was top notch,” he said. “I’ve never really done showcases or anything like that, because usually they’re just money grabs, but this one was the real deal. They don’t just look at numbers or anything, they’re looking at you as a player and want to see how you play in-game, and that’s one thing that I really liked about New Balance Future Stars, they see you as a player and not just like a stat. Playing in Florida was cool too. UCF was a great place, and other than the rain that happened there, it was all great.”
And even with the rain making on-field activities a challenge at times, Carrejo, a former wide receiver before focusing solely on baseball, enjoyed dusting off his skills with an impromptu, yet highly-competitive football game in the UCF football team’s practice bubble.
“That was something you’d never expect, but it was fun to do,” he said. “You’d never think you were going to a baseball event, fly out and one day just play two-hand touch football, it was a pretty cool experience, it was fun.”
It was a fascinating way, albeit perhaps an unintended one, to see the athleticism of the players on display in a bit of an unconventional manner. Carrejo was certainly one of those who excelled in that setting, and says since that event, his focus has been on getting in the weight room to add size while still maintaining surprisingly solid speed for his size.
“Just in the few months that I’ve spent grinding in the weight room, I’ve seen a big impact and I feel like power, nowadays with the way baseball is being played, it’s a huge tool for recruitment and becoming a lot bigger thing in the game than it has been in the past,” Carrejo said.
“I feel like I have tools across the board — and it’s not a cocky thing, it’s a confident thing — but putting on that weight and maintaining speed is a big thing, especially being an outfielder. You always have to have that range, so putting on muscle weight and not just water weight or fat weight, there’s a lot of stuff that goes into it. It’s eating a lot, but making sure that you’re eating healthy. When I first started bulking, I was eating a lot of food, but not really healthy, just trying to eat as much as I could. I felt myself getting slower, so I went on a meal plan, and that gave me more energy and boosted everything on my game.”
With a deep focus on doing whatever is necessary to improve his body and skills, the future is an exciting one for Carrejo, and one that he’s looking forward to seeing unfold at UTSA and beyond.
“I feel blessed,” he said. “There’s so many kids out there that would want to be in the position that I’m in, and I feel so blessed. I just want to thank God and my family for everything they’ve done for me, giving me this spot. It’s just amazing to know that I’m going to be playing college baseball, it’s been a dream ever since I was a little kid.”
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