Collegiate signings are nothing new at Tyler High School.
The school sends athletes to the next level in several sports every year.
The Lions were able to add a baseball contract to the roster Tuesday afternoon as pitcher Ja’Davion Lacey signed on to play for Angelina College at Lufkin at the Tyler High School Theater.
“It’s very interesting,” Lacy said. “It’s just a blessing. I am very grateful. I’m really speechless, but I know that everything is the will of God.
Tyler’s freshman baseball coach, Seth Gibson, said signing Lacey could be a game-changer for the program.
“This is a special moment for us,” Gibson said. “I don’t know how long it’s been since this happened here at Tyler High. It gives us motivation. Our whole saying is to change the narrative. We want kids to see that not only is football and basketball here at school, but baseball can take you to the next level. This can help pay for your education. You can play college. This is a great opportunity. It’s really special for these kids to come here and see it in person and see that it’s really real.”
Angelina competes in the Region XIV North Division with Tyler, Bossier-Parische, Paris, Panola, Navarro, Coastal Bend and Northeast Texas. San Jacinto, Alvin, Wharton, Galveston and Blinn are in the Region XIV South Division.
“I have looked into their program very carefully and I feel like they can help me,” Lacey said. “I feel like I’m the best fit with them.”
Gibson said that Angelina will get an electric-handed pitcher who has a lot of potential.
“They’re hiring a heavily recruited baseball player,” Gibson said. “Now not only students, but also professionals are showing interest in him. They have a guy who we think has the potential to be one of the top five pitchers in our county. He throws hard. He competes hard on the hill. He is a really good sportsman.
“His last bullpen, he was sitting in the low 90s and hitting 93-94 mph. Obviously when you throw that hard, people want to come and see what it’s like. He also has very good control over his off-speed stuff. He throws a really nice, tight slider. It comes out of his hands almost like a fastball and has a bit of a late spring feel to it. He’s throwing a fast ball at 90 mph with a slider at 77 mph, so that makes it harder. He’s definitely a high level pitcher.”
Although Lacy signed Angelina, there’s always the possibility that he could bypass college and go straight to professional careers. Representatives from the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays will visit Tyler to watch him play this week.
If Lacey makes the Major League Baseball team one day, whenever that happens, he knows it will become a reality.
“It will be very exciting,” Lacey said. “I feel like a draft. It’s all about God’s timing.”
Lacy also plays wide receiver for the Lions and has tied Boston College footballer Montrell Wade with 27 receptions this season. Lacey led Tyler with 541 receiving yards and he tied for second on the team with three receiving touchdowns. Lacy also made 10 tackles and one tackle for losing defense.
But despite his production on the grid, Lacy said baseball has always been there for him.
“I’ve been playing baseball since I was three years old,” Lacy said. “It really is a first love.
Before Lacey continues his career at the next level, he is ready to spend one more season with the Lions.
“We want to prove to everyone that we can do what they think we can’t do,” Lacy said. “We want to prove they were wrong. We’re going to make John Tyler baseball popular.”