Meet the students that verbally committed to UF

Sophomores+Landon+Moran+and+Luke+Heyman+talk+before+an+at-bat.+Both+Landon+and+Luke+verbally+committed+to+play+baseball+for+the+University+of+Florida+in+Dec.+of+their+freshman+years.
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Meet the students that verbally committed to UF

Sophomores Landon Moran and Luke Heyman talk before an at-bat. Both Landon and Luke verbally committed to play baseball for the University of Florida in Dec. of their freshman years.

Sophomores Landon Moran and Luke Heyman talk before an at-bat. Both Landon and Luke verbally committed to play baseball for the University of Florida in Dec. of their freshman years.

Three Point Photography

Sophomores Landon Moran and Luke Heyman talk before an at-bat. Both Landon and Luke verbally committed to play baseball for the University of Florida in Dec. of their freshman years.

Three Point Photography

Three Point Photography

Sophomores Landon Moran and Luke Heyman talk before an at-bat. Both Landon and Luke verbally committed to play baseball for the University of Florida in Dec. of their freshman years.

By Anisa Velazquez, Lake Brantley High School

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From a young age, dedicated athletes across the country strive towards the unparalleled opportunity to continue their sport beyond high school. Some spend their high school years searching for a college to call home. Others, however, discover their future straight out of middle school. Sophomores Landon Moran and Luke Heyman verbally committed to the University of Florida for baseball during Dec. of their freshman year and are on the path to a prosperous college career. 

When an athlete verbally commits to a school, the offer is not set in stone, meaning that until they sign the National Letter of Intent, they are required to keep up with school, maintain a well-mannered social life and put their full effort into their sport in order to keep their scholarship. Moran and Heyman frequently talk to the UF baseball head coach to touch base and remind him why they will be key assets to the team.

“The first time the call was about the offer but now every time we call them weekly or monthly and talk about what you’re up to, school-wise, baseball-wise, social life and stuff like that,” Heyman said. “If you don’t progress, or if they project you to be something and you aren’t where they want you to be, they can take it back.”

Because Moran and Heyman have proved themselves to be successful, they received offers from several schools, but it was their first priority to find a school that was the right fit for them to grow as athletes. Going to camps and traveling outside of the state were necessary for both to determine exactly what they were looking for in a university. Eventually, they both decided on UF.

“It [UF] is only two hours away, you can come back and forth, your parents can go to the games,” Heyman said. “They have some of the best coaching in college baseball. The program is just known for winning.” 

This opportunity is especially important for Moran and Heyman because beyond college, they plan to go professional. They both prioritized baseball at a very young age and as of now, there is no “plan B.”

“I knew from when I was 12 that I wanted to take it seriously because I wanted to take it to the next level and wanted to go to a college eventually,” Moran said. “The overall goal is to make it into the major leagues.” 

This journey could not be done alone. Throughout the years, they have had the support of family, friends, and coaches to aid in the process. 

“My mom has always taken me to my baseball games no matter where they are,” Moran said. “It’s always us staying in a hotel room in Fort Myers or Atlanta. No matter where it is, she is always traveling with me. And paying for it.”

As they develop in the high school seasons, their coaches are always there to make sure they are keeping up with their potential. While they will one day be Florida Gators, Heyman and Moran are two valuable players for Lake Brantley on and off the field. 

“They deserve this opportunity because they have worked hard for it and are very good players that colleges want to have,” varsity coach Eric Entrekin said.  “Both players are very respectful, and want to be coached hard. They are both very talented but they don’t just rely on that. They strive to improve everyday. Great attitudes and work hard in the classroom as well.”

The opportunity to play alongside a teammate for potentially more than eight years is a truly unique experience that many athletes will not have. Both players have grown individually, as well as with their team.

“Luke and I have always known each other since a young age so we’ve always been friends, but I’d say we’ve definitely grown closer with each other,” Moran said. “We talk a lot more now and it’s just kind of cool have one of your friends going to the same college to play the same sport as you.”

This story was originally published on The Brantley Banner on October 22, 2019.