The Valdosta Daily Times
Bradley Felkel grew up in Valdosta, eventually playing football and baseball for his beloved Wildcats.
Now, the recent Valdosta High School graduate won’t have to go very far to attend college.
With school out for summer, Felkel signed a national letter of intent to play college baseball at Valdosta State University.
“My brother always told me when I was younger that if I got the chance to play close to home when I got older to go ahead and do it,” Felkel said. “He went to Kentucky and that is a long trip to make.”
“I am happy for Bradley and his family,” Valdosta head coach Bart Shuman said. “I’m excited that he gets to stay here and play for a great program like Valdosta State.”
Felkel, a Region 1-AAAAAA Honorable Mention this season for the Wildcats, joins Lowndes’ David Wortham and Ty Harwell as local prospects that have signed with the hometown Blazers this season.
“We hadn’t talked about it yet, but we started out together playing when we were young and we’ve always played with each other and against each other,” Felkel said of his new teammates. “They are great guys.”
Like Wortham did earlier this month when he signed with the Blazers, Felkel said he was excited about joining a Blazers team that won the Gulf South Conference championship this season, and for playing under coaches Greg and Todd Guilliams.
“They’re great guys,” Felkel said. “They know what they are doing. They have the history of winning and I’d like to start winning some more.”
A center fielder for the Wildcats this season, Felkel said he plans on fitting in with the Blazers “somewhere in the outfield,” but saying that he would like to stay in centerfield if he could.
“Bradley is a good enough ball player where he will do what they ask him to do,” Shuman said. “And the fact that he will be playing baseball year-round now, with not having to do football, that will benefit him.”
With recent changes in bats at the college level, the emphasis of college recruiting, especially at Valdosta State, has gone from hitting for power to hitting to reach base and base running.
“I have never been much of a power hitter, so that fits my style more,” Felkel said. “I like to steal; stealing is probably my favorite part of the game. And bunting is not bad either. Small ball is perfect for me.”
Felkel said he will major in Kinesiology at Valdosta State, which he has seen grow since his young days growing up in town.
“They have a beautiful campus, great facilities — the weight room is really nice,” Felkel said. “It hasn’t gotten a lot bigger since I was younger.”
At Valdosta, Felkel was one of the few seniors that filled the Valdosta roster this season. During the fall, Felkel was also a member of the Wildcat football team, where he caught an 85-yard touchdown pass against rival Coffee in a playoff-clinching rout of the Trojans last season.
While Felkel will join the Blazers in August, he will spend the summer playing for the Coastal Georgia Hooks, an 18U Summer Ball Team.