Today, we kick off our “My Boy” series, in which we will focus on individual players and what makes them special to a dedicated fan. Today’s post comes to us from FJLA, a long-time Texas Baseball fan with extensive knowledge about college recruiting and the transition from high school to college ball. He tells us about his favorite player, Erich Weiss, currently batting .259 with four doubles and one triple.
In November 2009, Longhorn Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Tommy Harmon was wrapping up another much heralded recruiting class during the early-signing period for the University of Texas. Some of the Letters of Intent (LOIs) he received were from highly rated high school pitchers like Nathan Thornhill, Kirby Bellow, and Mike Foltynewicz (who would be drafted in the 1st round the following June and sign with the Houston Astros). Harmon also added position players like Jacob Felts, Christian Summers, Alex Silver, and Dex Kjerstad. Most of these kids were Top 50 players in the state of Texas based on Perfect Game USA’s player recruiting rankings (except, of course, Foltynewicz who was the number 1 ranked player from the state of Illinois)
Reportedly, one of the last kids to be offered a scholarship in that recruiting class was a somewhat little known 2nd Baseman from Brenham, Texas named Erich Weiss. Weiss was not included in Perfect Game’s Top 50 list, and unlike future teammates Christian Summers, Alex Silver, or Jacob Felts, Weiss had not been a member of the Texas Rangers Area Code Team, which is one of the most prestigious honors a HS baseball player in Texas can receive. The story goes that former Longhorn great and fellow Brenham HS alum Dustin Majewski alerted the Longhorn Staff late in the recruiting process that they needed to take a look at Erich Weiss, and just as Majewski was a clutch performer on the diamond at Texas, in this case he also proved to be a very proficient scout of talent.
Coming into the 2011 season the Longhorns needed to replace some key bats that had left following the 2010 season. Guys like Cameron Rupp, Kevin Keyes, and Russell Moldenhauer, who had helped the Longhorns win a combined 100 games the previous two seasons had left the 40 Acres. But one thing that the Longhorns appeared to already have filled were the infield positions. Then, word started to trickle out from preseason practices that Augie and the staff were really high on the new kid, Weiss. He had already begun to fill out some since high school, his glove was better than expected, but most of all, he was showing that he could handle the bat, hit to all fields, and had surprising power. At some point it must have become apparent to Augie Garrido that there was no way that this kid could be kept out of the opening day lineup. And so, when Texas opened the season at home versus Maryland, Erich Weiss was batting in the 6th hole and playing a position that he did not play in high school and a position where he was not recruited to play in college, 3rd Base.
The rest is pretty much history, Erich had 3 hits in his first game, and went 9 for 12 in the 4-game series while driving in 7 runs. He would go on to hit .348 for the season and lead the Longhorns in Batting Average, RBI’s, On-Base Percentage, Walks, and finish 2nd in Hits and Home Runs – while also fielding his new defensive position at close to a .960 Fielding Percentage committing only 7 errors for the entire 68 game season. Erich Weiss was a key offensive piece and a big reason that Texas was able to win a third consecutive Big 12 Championship and advance back to the College World Series in Omaha for a record 34th time. After the season, the kid who was not a High School All-American was a consensus Freshmen All-American from virtually every College Baseball publication in the country, as well as being First Team All-Big 12 and the Big 12 Freshman of the year.
What makes Erich Weiss so great is that he is a living, breathing example of perseverance and will. For someone to not be highly recruited, to be offered a scholarship to his dream school at basically the 11th hour and then use that opportunity to mold himself into one of the best College Baseball players in America proves what can be accomplished with hard work and determination. As a fan of Longhorn Baseball I can tell you that I am very much looking forward to more great things from Erich Weiss over the next few seasons, and based what he has accomplished so far in his career I would bet that is exactly what we will get.
Photo: Donald Boyles