Landing New Jersey First-Team All-State first baseman/outfielder Jordan Sweeney (6-5, 215, Egg Harbor Township, N.J.) was huge for the Scarlet Knights. He committed to the program in August of 2017.
Rutgers baseball has pieced together a strong class with cornerstone players like Sweeney. Currently, he is considered to be the No. 16 overall prospect in New Jersey, and No. 1 first baseman.
We caught up with the high school baseball star to talk about his commitment and other baseball topics.
Blain Bradley: Jordan, thanks for interviewing with OTB. How has everything been since signing your National Letter of Intent (NLI)?
Jordan Sweeney: Thank you for the opportunity. Everything has been great since signing my NLI.
Congrats to our 2019 Seniors signing their National Letter of Intents to play Division 1 Baseball. Jordan Sweeney Rutgers University, Cory Kessler Hartford University, & Robbie Petracci (not pictured) Old Dominion University. Great job fellas! #EHTPride #EHTbaseball #SEE #TEAM36 pic.twitter.com/BLR94XIUci— EHT Baseball (@EHTHSbaseball) November 14, 2018
BB: What stood out about Rutgers program during your recruiting process? What other schools were in the mix, and what made Rutgers your top choice?
JS: A lot stood out about Rutgers during my recruiting process. I really liked the facilities and the coaches made it feel like home. I feel like the program is going in the right direction. I also really liked the size of the campus and all the opportunities I’ll have academically. Other schools in the mix were Delaware, St. John’s, Richmond, Boston College, Virginia, and LaSalle. Rutgers was the best fit for me because I liked the idea of staying home and representing my home state, while also playing in a great conference. Playing in the Big Ten at Rutgers will give me the opportunity to become the best possible player I can be.
BB: How did Fall ball go for you this year? What have you been doing during the Winter to keep your game sharp?
JS: Fall ball went great for me this year. I went down to the Perfect Game tournament in Jupiter, [Fla.] and played really well. It was nice to end my travel ball career on a positive note. I had a relatively light Fall ball schedule, so I was able to spend a lot of time in the weight room getting stronger, and in the cages working on my swing. I’ve been very busy this Winter with basketball, but I still have time to get some maintenance lifting in throughout the week. I always have time to hit and throw after basketball practices and on the weekends. I’m one of our better pitchers for high school, so I’ll also start mixing in a bullpen once a week starting in January.
BB: What sets you apart from other first basemen? How versatile are you, and where else do you think Rutgers could use you on the field?
JS: I would say my athleticism sets me apart from other first basemen. I consider myself more than just a corner guy that can hit. I move well around the bag defensively and I run the bases well. I also ran a 6.87, 60-yard dash this fall, which isn’t bad for a first baseman. I am just as comfortable in the outfield as I am at first base, so I could see myself playing corner outfield at the next level. I would also be open to pitching if the coaches wanted me to.
BB: Who do you model your game after, or what players do you look up to? What team did you root for growing up?
JS: One player that I look up to is Mike Trout. He grew up and played not too far from where I live, and played on the same travel teams as me, the South Jersey Sand Sharks and the Tri State Arsenal. He is definitely very popular in my area. I love the way he carries himself and plays the game, and he makes it seem possible that someone from this area can make it to the pros. I have always been a Phillies fan. My favorite Phillie was Ryan Howard in his prime because of all the home runs he hit.
BB: What’s your biggest accomplishment so far as a baseball player?
JS: I would say my biggest accomplishment so far is being a part of making my high school team so successful. Representing my school, Egg Harbor Township, in a positive way means a lot to me. Since I started playing my freshman year, we have made our deepest runs into the playoffs in many years and have had really good seasons. My biggest personal accomplishments are being named First Team All State and making my commitment to Rutgers last year.
BB: What aspects of your game do you want to improve upon at the next level?
JS: I want to improve all aspects of my game when I get to Rutgers. I want to really focus on getting myself into the best shape possible and work on becoming a more consistent hitter. I’m excited to have all the tools available to help better myself.
BB: How do you feel about the recruiting class? Have you played with any of the guys, or built any chemistry yet?
JS: I feel really good about the recruiting class. We all got to hang out a lot during our official visit, so we all know each other now. I’m excited to get to work with them this summer.
BB: What’s the most underrated skill a baseball player needs to make it to the collegiate level?
JS: I think a very underrated skill to becoming the best player you can be is the mental game. One of my high school coaches introduced me and my team to visualization and meditation, and it helped us tremendously. I’m a big believer in it. I also believe that being physical is important to making it to the collegiate level. Getting into the weight room and adding strength is essential.
BB: What’s are your goals during your time at Rutgers?
JS: My personal goals are to make an immediate impact when I arrive at Rutgers and to get drafted. I know I’m going to have to work hard, but I’ll be ready. Another goal of mine is contributing to making Rutgers grow stronger in the Big Ten.