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Leavitt: 'Blown away' by Penn State baseball

Yesterday, St. John's Prep outfielder Keith Leavitt verbally committed to Penn State while on an unofficial visit to campus.

For the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Leavitt, this was a no-brainer despite having interest from St. John's (N.Y.) and a number of ACC schools, including Georgia Tech, Virginia, Duke and Boston College. The Nittany Lions are in rebuilding mode under new head coach Rob Cooper, and Leavitt wants to be part of the renaissance.

Here are a few comments from Leavitt, a Manchester resident, on his commitment this weekend:

Deciding factors: "Once I arrived at Penn State, immediately I was blown away by the facilities. Then I got a chance to meet the coaches, and it didn't take long for me to decide that this is the place I wanna be at the next level. [I liked] the coaching staff, their general attitude about what they were doing towards future. Basically everything they were about, I was for. I agreed with everything they said. I really look forward to playing for them."

What the coaching staff likes about him, and how he projects: "They were really imprssed with my hitting, the way the ball comes off the bat in my swing. They said they project me to be an impact in their lineup right away at the top of the order. That's something I wanna do, is come in and be an impact player right away. They like my mechanics. My swing is really short and compact, but at the same time powerful. The ball comes off the bat hard.

"Right now they have me as an outfielder, but I'm sure I'll find out more. Where I'll be, I'm not sure yet, but right now they have me projected there."

On relief and motivation from this commitment: "I'd be lying if I said it wasn’t a relief. I went to a place I that feel comfortable and want to play at the next level. It feels great being comfortable at the next level, to have a chance to fulfill my potential to the best of my ability. It's a relief finding a place, but at the same time I need to keep working hard. I have very high goals for myself."