Collinsville High School standout starting pitcher Tanner Houck signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to play baseball for the University of Missouri.
The signing made official what Houck had verbally committed to last December. Houck had a 2.10 ERA over 50 innings for the Kahoks last season. He pitched in 10 games, eight as a starter and compiled a 3-4 record while fanning 40 and walking 15 in 50 innings.
Missouri State and the University of Mississippi were among the final three schools Houck considered, but he chose the program his mother, Jennifer Houck, said he has wanted to be part of since he was in 7th grade.
“He fell in love with the coaching staff at that time and decided that’s what he wanted,” Jennifer Houck said.
The Tigers will be getting a pitcher that is dedicated and coachable, Collinsville Head Coach Pete Trapp said. Houck is 6-foot 5-inches, 190 pounds and throws a fastball that touches 89 mph. “Someone that tall with that velocity brings something extra,” Trapp said. Houck also features a curveball, changeup and slider.
Although he led the Kahoks with 19 RBI last season as an infielder, Houck said he is not a very good hitter and will be a starting pitcher only at Missouri. The Tigers finished 18-32 overall in 2013, their first season in the Southeastern Conference. They were 10-20 in SEC play and were eliminated in the first round of the SEC tournament.
Houck has been going to camps at Mizzou since he was in 7th grade and signing the letter of intent is the fulfillment of a dream, his father Darrin Houck said. The dream may not become a reality, though, if Houck decides to play professionally instead.
The Boston Red Sox recently contacted Jennifer Houck and arranged to visit Houck at home. Several other Major League teams have also been in touch, Houck said.
Houck is not sure what it would take to convince him to bypass the scholarship offer and turn pro. Glancing at his mother, who his grandmother Gwen Balen called the driving force in his career, Houck said that is a discussion for another time.
“As a family, we haven’t talked about it yet. I just want to make the right decision.”