You’re a high school freshman. Other than trying to acclimate yourself to a newer, bigger academic climate, you’re also a star baseball player who has committed to a Division I school. Seems like a lot, right?
Not for Jack Herman. The outfielder from Berlin, NJ committed to the University of Maryland in his freshman year at Eastern High School, all before he even really got a taste of what high school was like.
The decision to become a Terp came easy for Herman and it stems back to early in his childhood.
“I had a tournament in Maryland somewhere around the campus when I was like 7 or 8. Maryland was playing, and the coach got all of us tickets, and I ended up walking the campus after the game. I fell in love with it,” Herman said.
Luckily for Herman, Maryland offered him a baseball scholarship as a freshman, and he quickly jumped on the opportunity.
“It was one of the dream schools I had, so there was no question in my mind. It was a no-brainer about deciding to go there,” Herman said.
Now going into his senior year, unlike most of his friends and classmates, Herman doesn’t have to stress about college, which he said is a big weight off his shoulder. This allows him to have baseball, above anything, as his main priority.
From a young child, Herman was a standout baseball player, even in the days of tee-ball.
“I remember I was playing infield and I broke the first baseman’s nose, I broke this girl’s nose from third base, and they were like, ‘You can’t play tee-ball anymore, you have to move up,’” Herman said. “I had specific rules for me in tee-ball, like I couldn’t throw the ball to first,”
Herman quickly jumped from town baseball to travel baseball, but travel still wasn’t enough for the incoming high school senior.
So he joined the national circuit, playing for Perfect Game USA, the premier baseball development and scouting organization in the country. Now, he was playing in front of professional scouts at showcases across the nation.
“There’s just thousands of scouts watching you. Facing the competition there, they can just tell,” Herman said.
There was one significant difference between Perfect Game and his former travel teams; instead of playing for the success of the team, he now had to play for the success of himself. Herman has always been a team player rather than an individual.
“Showcases are hard because it’s not always about winning. They don’t look at the winning team; they look at the players on the team, ” Herman said.
Back home, Herman has put up record numbers for Eastern, breaking the single-season home run and hit record in his sophomore year.
“It was not uncommon for my assistant coaches and I to look at each other and just say, ‘Wow, can you believe he just did that?’” Eastern Head Coach Robert Christ said.
Even more impressive was the fact that Herman started on varsity as a freshman, a feat seldom seen in the program.
“A lot of times, there’s a lot of buildup for players. In very little time, Jack illustrated that not only did he belong, but as a freshman, he was one of the better players,” Christ said.
Along with being a team player, Herman enjoys the grind aspect of baseball, trying to better himself every day, whether that be in the weight room or on the diamond.
“You’re not always successful in the sport. If I just play in college and don’t make it after that, I feel like it would shape my mentality in my head that your whole life is not going to be successful,” Herman said.
This work ethic has really shown, especially in high school.
“I never had to question Jack. He always had a lot of intensity and desire to be there,” Christ said.
Herman currently is one of the highest rated prospects in the 2018 class on scouting websites across the nation, and a high selection in the MLB Draft could be in his future, but he’s not worried about that until it happens, if it ever happens.
“It’s definitely a thought now. It all comes down to the money. When it comes down to the MLB stuff, it’s your job. Where you get drafted really comes into play,” Herman said.
Rather than worry about the future, Herman is focused on the now, which includes as he preparing for his senior season at Eastern, where he will look to further cement his name into the record books.