Jeremy Comer assumed the baseball Gods were sending him a message the night that Tony Vitello’s Tennessee baseball program offered him a scholarship.
The 2023 centerfielder and right-handed pitcher from Overland Park, Kansas was fishing at a local park when his high school coach instructed him to give Vitello a call. Vitello extended Comer an offer to be a part of the Tennessee program on the call, and five minutes later, Comer caught his personal-best bass.
It doesn’t stop there, however. As Comer was leaving, he passed a man wearing a Tennessee polo on the walking trail.
“I thought that was pretty cool and I didn’t think the night could get any better,” Comer told Rocky Top Insider. “It wasn’t my first offer, but when I got my offer from Tennessee, I knew I wanted to be a part of their program and help them make it to Omaha.”
Comer committed to Tennessee shortly after his conversation with Vitello. The 6-foot-3, 160-pounder chose the Vols over Kansas State, Arkansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma State.
I’m beyond excited to announce that I will be continuing my Baseball and Academic careers at the University of Tennessee. I want to give a special thank you to God, my coaches, family and friends for bettering me as a person as well as a player. @BCbaseballtoday @Vol_Baseball pic.twitter.com/nToPhN5Tmw
— Jeremy Comer (@JeremyComer4) July 21, 2020
“It was just a normal call with me and my family,” Comer said of his call to Vitello to tell him he was committed. “We were just going over some more questions. My mom asked one of her questions and I just told Coach Vitello, ‘I don’t have any more questions, except I have one more thing, I’m ready to become a Volunteer.’ He was really pumped up and really, really excited. And my family was pumped up to be a part of the family.
“Really excited to be a Volunteer.”
Vitello himself was the main attraction to Tennessee for Comer. Comer’s old pitching coach played for Vitello when Vitello was at Missouri, and had nothing but good things to say about the program that he runs.
It wasn’t just Vitello. Tennessee assistant Josh Elander also played an important role in Comer’s recruitment.
“Coming into the recruiting process, I really liked the whole idea, and I had heard, that Tennessee had an awesome coaching staff,” Comer said. “I later found out that they do actually have the best coaches hands down. Coach Vitello has almost been like a best friend to me through the recruiting process. Same with Coach (Josh) Elander. He’s been amazing in terms of all of the information he’s given me. What came down to making my decision was the overall relationships with the coaches, and how much better I thought I could be with them.”
Comer has impressed many this summer on the travel ball circuit. One play while playing in a tournament down in Georgia caught the eye of Vitello.
“Coach Vitello was watching one of the livestreams and there was a ball back in the left-center gap on the warning track, and I was shaded in the right-center gap, and I ran all the way out there and made a diving catch at the wall,” Comer said. “Coach Vitello mentioned the outfield, defensively, is really important to my game.”
Comer is a two-way player for his high school and plans on pursuing a two-way career once he gets to college. He realizes things can change, but he’s focused on extending his career as a two-way player as long as possible.
As far as what position in the outfield he’ll play, it’ll be centerfield.
“I do play the corners a little bit, but centerfield is my home,” Comer said. “I like to be a leader in the outfield and do anything I can to help the guys around me.”
From a pitching standpoint, Comer is excited to play under the watchful eye of Tennessee pitching coach Frank Anderson who is one of the best pitching coaches in the country. Anderson’s track record with two-way players, as well as Tennessee’s business school, is what attracted Comer to the Vols.
“Overall, I did know Tennessee had an awesome business school,” Comer said. “That was something I was very interested in. Overall, Tennessee is a really good school.
“I was following them this past spring and they were really good. On track to make it deep in the year.”
As for what Comer brings on the mound, he’s not the hardest-throwing pitcher at this stage of his high school, but he’s confident in his ability to throw strikes.
“I’m not too high up in the 80’s velocity wise,” Comer said. “I’m about 83 right now.
“I can command my fastball, changeup, curveball and slider pretty well. I’d say that’s my main strength, being able to command my off-speed pitches. I think that’ll help the team down the road.”