Nick Ciuffo has always been the kind of player that grabbed your attention on the baseball field. He was good enough to get noticed by Ray Tanner and get a scholarship offer from the Gamecocks before his 1st game as a Freshman at Wando. Now he's made Major League teams take notice and been invited to their headquarters for the 1st round of the Draft next month.
"It's always been a dream of mine to play professional baseball whether it was before college or after college." Ciuffo, who transferred to play at Lexington after his Sophomore season. said from Mt. Pleasant last weekend. "I never would have thought in a million years I'd be one of the select 7 guys in the country picked to go to the draft. Whether I get drafted there or not, it's not a big deal. The whole thing with going there is to experience it and have a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Even though Ciuffo has been committed to the Gamecocks since he was 14 years old, the Catcher credits his time growing up around the College of Charleston program, where his father Tony was the Sports Information Director, for helping shape him into the player he is today.
"As a young kind, I never learned any other way but the Division 1 college player way. I learned watching guys like Brett Gardner and Michael Kohn. I watched them and watched every little thing they did and kinda mimicked them. I learned from guys like John Pawlowski (Former CofC Head Coach) who taught me the game."
For now, Nick can only wait to see what happens on Draft night, where he's projected to be somewhere between a middle and late 1st round pick, and imagine what will happen when his time to be selected comes.
"I have no idea what the emotions are going to be like when or if I hear my name. I'll probably be trying to hold back tears of happiness. But I'm looking forward to it."
Of course, if things don't work out for Ciuffo in the Draft, he's got a pretty good fallback option.
"Worse case scenario, I go play at South Carolina. I go play for the two time national champions and one of the best programs in the country."