Stillwater News Press

OSU Sports

September 11, 2012

Stillwater High junior Jon Littell gives commitment to Oklahoma State baseball program

STILLWATER, Okla. — Growing up in Stillwater, Jon Littell has been to his fair share of Oklahoma State baseball games at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

Now the Stillwater High School junior has every intention of playing at the same stadium he came to love as a kid after giving a verbal commitment to the Cowboys over the weekend.

“It was very important for me to stay home and play in front of my friends and family,” Littell said. “To be able to play for coach (Josh) Holliday, who has grown up the same way I have and gone to the same schools that I have, it just means a lot to play for someone like that. I feel like I can really trust him because he’s coming from the same background that I have.”

“We’re always thrilled to death to see any of our kids get an opportunity to play at the next level, whether it is JUCO, Division II or Division I,” Stillwater High School coach Tony Holt said. “It’s always exciting because that’s their dream of playing on the next level. It always makes you proud as a coach and excited for them. To know that Jon gets to stay in town like Corey Hassel, who signed with Oklahoma State, that makes it even sweeter to know that he’ll be here in town and we’ll get an opportunity to watch him progress as a baseball player. ... We’re thrilled to death that we have a former Pioneer back as our head coach and now we get some Pioneer players up there. It’s just a great situation and I’ve just been thrilled to death ever since I heard the news.”

Most college coaches look for an in with the kids they recruit. For Holliday — a Stillwater High School and Oklahoma State standout in his own right — that familiar Stillwater background provided the Oklahoma State coach with an advantage.

“It definitely had a big influence on me,” Littell said. “I trust him that he’s going to get me to be the best student-athlete that I can possibly be and the best person that I can be. I really trust my future in his hands. We began talking as soon as he got here and he told me that he was very interested. He told me that (St. Louis Cardinals slugger) Matt, his younger brother, had seen me at Stillwater High and was very impressed. That’s kind of how it started off and before I knew it they were offering me a scholarship.”

It may be Littell’s dream to take the field at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, but those dreams don’t come without a price. Littell — a star on the football field and basketball court — gave up the gridiron and hardwood this season to focus more on baseball.

“I made this decision because my future, in my opinion, is in the game of baseball, rather than the other two that I’ve played up until this year,” Littell said. “I just really wanted to focus and be the best baseball player that I could possibly be, knowing that was in my future.”

Even with Littell’s future pretty much set, Holt said he’s not expecting the junior to take it easy now that he has an offer from Oklahoma State. If anything, Holt said he expects Littell to work even harder.

“You can look at it one of two ways,” Holt said. “You worry about kids getting complacent and going, ‘Hey, I’ve got my scholarship and I’m going to go to Oklahoma State. I don’t need to work.’ But our kids, I don’t worry about that with the type of kids we have. Corey Hassel wasn’t that way, Jon Littell and Parker Zimmerman — those kids kept working to make themselves better by playing at a high level during the summer. I think it will help him because he’s done with it early now. The pressure’s not on about, ‘Am I going to go to Oklahoma State? Where am I going to go or am I even going to go?’ He gets that out of the way and he knows he’s got a great opportunity with a Division I program. Now he just wants to work and make himself a better athlete and better player.”

Littell said he’s had plenty of other offers but when Holliday came calling, Littell said his decision was made right then and there.

“I had some other offers, but Oklahoma State has always been my dream school,” Littell said. “I’ve always wanted to stay here, so it was a no-brainer as soon as they offered.

“It was a dream come true for me. My parents have always been there for me and I wouldn’t have wanted to do anything else than to stay here and play for them, play for Oklahoma State University and play for the town of Stillwater.”

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