MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It’s hard to comprehend a 14-year-old committing to play a major sport at a Power 5 program, but that’s what Morgantown High freshman Aaron Jamison did Tuesday.
Before even stepping to the plate in his high school career, the baseball prodigy announced he was staying home and playing at West Virginia under coach Randy Mazey, just a day after WVU announced Mazey signed a contract extension through 2025.
That was great news for Jamison, who isn’t even set to graduate high school until 2023. The offer came a couple weeks ago from the Mountaineers, much to his surprise.
“It shocked me at first, but I was also really excited and thought it was pretty cool,” Jamison said. “It also made me feel really blessed that they recruited me.”
Playing for the Appalachian Aces at Mon County Ballpark a couple weeks ago, it gave the WVU coaches a chance to watch Jamison. That’s when WVU recruiting coordinator Steve Sabins extended the offer.
“One reason I chose WVU was because coach Sabins has been really cool to work with and talk to,” Jamison said. “Another was getting a chance to play at WVU’s stadium, and everything about that was exciting getting a chance to play there.”
Jamison, the son of John and Debbie Jamison, is another in a long line of Morgantown-area players who played under Ernie Galusky to get major offers — others include Jedd Gyorko and Jimmy Galusky, who both played at WVU.
Galusky coaches the 14u Morgantown Redbirds and has coached Jamison since he was 11 years old, and even then, the obvious talent was apparent.
“He’s a really good player and has come a long way the last 2-3 year threes,” Galusky said. “He’s gotten a lot better over the last three years, but he just has the tools. He’s a lefty hitter and lefty thrower at a premium position in centerfield. His body is projectable to play at the college level. He has all the things Division I players have — he’s big, strong and fast. He plays centerfield really well and works really hard. He looks like a guy who’s going to be a really good college player.”
Jamison, at 6-foot, projects to grow and mature physically over the next three years, but there’s no guarantees how someone progress. But already playing against players older than him or others being recruited by top universities, Galusky believes WVU made the right decision to move early by offering Jamison.
“If you’re WVU, you can’t let that kid get out of town,” Galusky said. “They did exactly what they needed to do.”
Jamison is the second member of the Redbirds to be offered and commit to WVU. Lincoln Pack, a native of Mount Morris, Pa., and utility player who can play the outfield, infield and pitch, made his decision to play for the Mountaineers two weeks ago.
Run like a college program, Galusky and hitting coach Jerry Mahoney teach their players what it’s like at an early age to play in a college system — “How we expect the kids to wear the uniform, run on and off the field, stuff like that. Aaron took to that immediately three years ago.”
With Jamison’s talent comes a strong worth ethic, which may be the most important piece to the puzzle. No matter the day or his performance, nothing gets Jamison down — he works the same way every time.
“He’s locked in every time he plays and you never worry about effort or how he will react to a situation,” Galusky said. “He’s very mature for his age and handles failure and adversity well. He also handles success well — he goes about it the same every day, whether he goes 4 for 4 or 0 for 4, which is most important for baseball players. You have to play the game and not let the game effect him the next day.”
Josh Kuykendall, scouting director of Prep Baseball Report West Virginia, said it’s hard to project how a 14-year-old will turn out in 3-4 years, but Jamison has the tools already that could translate to the next level.
“I believe what separates Aaron from most kids his age is his overall skill set on a baseball field,” Kuykendall said. “He’s a left handed thrower and hitter and has shown the ability to hit good velocity at his age. He played this past weekend with the Appalachian Aces North team and even at 14, he showed unbelievable maturity for his age. He not only faced kids 3-4 years older than him, but he had a lot of success.”