The start of 2019 means Rutgers baseball is right around the corner. The Scarlet Knights finished 2018 with an even 25-25 record. Moving in to this season, and the future, head coach Joe Litterio and his staff are looking to build up the program through strong recruiting classes.
One of the major pieces of the 2019 recruiting class is Grant Shulman (6’1”, 195, Wall, NJ). Shulman is a highly skilled third baseman and pitcher. The Wall High School senior took some time out of his busy Winter training schedule to sit down with us and share his thoughts on his commitment and the Scarlet Knights baseball program.
Blain Bradley: Grant, thanks for interviewing with OTB. How has it been since signing your National Letter of (NLI) Intent?
Grant Shulman: Everything has been great since I signed my NLI. It truly was a dream come true to not only sign and know I will be playing Division 1 baseball, but to do so at a Big Ten program. My family and friends have been very supportive throughout, so I am truly blessed.
BB: What stood out about Rutgers? What other schools were in the mix, and what made Rutgers your top choice?
GS: Rutgers definitely stood out during my recruiting process for many reasons. Some of the reasons were how Rutgers academics stood out in the field [Business] I am pursuing. Other reasons were how close it is to my home, my mom is an alumnus, and just really enjoying the visit and campus. The main reason was to be able to compete in the Big Ten conference, ultimately compete against the best of the best, and better myself as a player, with the high end amenities Rutgers Baseball offers. Other schools in the mix were George Washington, Seton Hall and UNC Asheville.
BB: How did fall ball go for you this year? What have you been doing during the Winter to keep your game sharp?
GS: Fall ball this year went great. During the Winter I am on a workout and meal plan to get my body in shape for this upcoming school season, and also for next year at Rutgers. I am also hitting daily and working on my fielding three to four days a week.
BB: What sets you apart from other players? How versatile are you, and where do you think you can help Rutgers on the field?
GS: What sets me apart from other players is my athleticism and versatility. I feel like I can play any other position on the field if I were to dedicate my work towards it. My secondary position however is pitcher. I take pride in my pitching and think I could help out Rutgers as a pitcher as well if needed.
BB: Who do you model your game after, or what players do you look up to? What team did you root for growing up?
GS: Growing up, I was a big Yankees fan, being from New Jersey. I really looked up to Derek Jeter in regards to how he carried himself on the field and led his teammates by example. I model my game after Nolan Arenado [3B, Colorado Rockies], in a way that he takes pride in all aspects of his game, including defensively.
BB: What’s your biggest accomplishment so far as a baseball player?
GS: My biggest accomplishment so far as a baseball player is making First-Team All-Shore Conference as a junior in high school. My junior year was my breakout year, as where most of my recruiting was happening by the Rutgers coaching staff.
BB: What aspects of your game do you want to improve upon at the next level?
GS: I look to improve on every aspect of my game at the next level. Since everything is at such a faster pace, I need to be physically and mentally ready to come in and thrive as a freshman. Some aspects specifically are hitting and recognizing pitches, speed in all ways, and throwing harder.
BB: How do you feel about the recruiting class? Have you played with any of the guys, or built any chemistry yet?
GS: I have not played with any of the recruiting class yet. Although all of the members seem to be extremely talented and excited for the future. I met most of the boys on our official visit in late November, and all of them seem like very cool and nice guys. I can’t wait to get to work with them and get to know them!
BB: What’s the most underrated skill a baseball player needs to make it to the collegiate level?
GS: The most underrated skill a player needs to make it to the collegiate level is to have a developed mental side of the game. I train at a place where the people there are focused on that side of the game just as much as the physical side of it. I also think an understated skill is to be physically mature and be used to the weight room and training that comes along with a D1 program.
BB: What’s are your goals during your time at Rutgers?
GS: My goals are to make an impact and better the team as soon as I get there as a freshman. I hope to challenge the other players in a way we can both gain from it. I also hope that my time at Rutgers get me ready for the MLB Draft. As a team, my goals are to win a Big Ten Championship and make it to the tournament. I think we are in the right direction for those goals and I hope to be a part of that as soon as possible.