To say that Hickman senior Blake Tekotte has had a trying year is an understatement.
He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the first game of the Kewpies’ 2004 season, ending his high school football career. So he’s been forced to watch from the sidelines as the Kewpies have marched to the No. 1 spot in Missouri’s Class 6 high school football poll.
Now, though, his health isn’t the only thing that’s looking better.
At 3 p.m. today in the Hickman High School commons, Tekotte will sign a national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Miami.
As a junior, Tekotte batted .519 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs on his way to first-team All-state honors.
“I’m very excited,” Tekotte said Tuesday. “It’s definitely pretty exciting to go down to Miami. With as big of a program as they have. It’s going to be real fun.”
Long considered a national power, the Hurricanes have advanced to the College World Series nine of the past 11 years and won national championships in 1999 and 2001. Last season, Miami finished with a 50-13 record and No. 4 national ranking.
“I’ll tell you what,” Hickman assistant baseball coach Dave Wilson said Tuesday. “As much work as that young man has put in to the game of baseball, it is such a pleasure to see him reap the benefits.”
Tekotte spent the past summer playing with the Midwest Prospects, an elite traveling team that provided vast exposure to college and professional recruiters.
After visiting various schools in the fall (he made official visits to MU, Southwest Missouri State University and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas), Tekotte made his final decision after a late-October trip to Miami. “I loved the weather,” Tekotte said. “And the opportunity to play right away as a freshman, that’s hard to pass up.”
Although still recovering from his knee injury, Tekotte expects to be ready for the start of baseball season in late-February. He acknowledged the hectic nature of the recruiting process and admits that he is happy to have it behind him.
“At first, getting calls is pretty cool; you realize that all your hard work has paid off,” Tekotte said. “But it gets a little tiring and annoying as it goes on. Now that I’ve signed, it’s kind of a relief. I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Tekotte will be an integral part of a Hickman team that last year finished 12-7 and lost in the semifinals of the district tournament.
“I’m just looking forward to the chance to play a sport again,” said Tekotte, who has spent the past two months in rehabilitation. “We have a great chemistry this year, and I think this year we definitely have the chance to be better than we have been the past couple years.”