Ohio State freshman pitcher and sometimes-first baseman Jeffrey Carroll did not have to go far or search long to find a destination for college. The Columbus, Ohio native who went to high school at Bishop Watterson, said Ohio State was the first and only visit he made. His interests, however, are much broader. This is true on and off the baseball diamond. During games, he can found on the mound as a pitcher or manning first base, while off the field he enjoys hunting and pursuing a career in medicine.
What is it like being a true freshman playing for your hometown team?
“My whole life, growing up in Worthington and going to Watterson, everyone told me, especially last year when I was getting recruited, ‘Ohio State is a big-time program,’ especially with them going to (NCAA) super regional. It is just a great honor because every game the Watterson community supports us. My family has been able to come here and watch me play, which is nice. I was able to stay close, compared to some other schools I was considering. There is nothing else like Ohio State, especially when you’re from Columbus and you’re a Buckeye, when you can put on that uniform.”
When did you officially decide to become a Buckeye?
“I committed during the first signing period last year, toward November. I took my visit here and I had one more I was supposed to go on, but I canceled it.”
How did the recruiting process begin for you?
“Coach (Bob) Todd actually started writing me letters when I was a junior, even before the high school season. I think people told him to keep an eye on me. It was really early. Ohio State was one of the earliest teams, just because I’m in their backyard.”
How did it feel when colleges began recruiting you?
“It is awesome. It was just a great experience because I played in Cincinnati (on a national all-star team called) Midland, the same team where Scott Lewis and (former Ohio State outfielder) Christian Snavely played, so I thought I was going to go to Ohio State, but you never want to take anything for granted. It’s a long process, but you just have to narrow them down.”
You have seen action this season both on the mound as a pitcher and in the field, as an infielder. Which position do you prefer?
“I was recruited as a first baseman, but some guys got hurt. I always wanted to do both, but I was recruited as a first baseman and I still think that is where I could contribute the greatest, but playing behind Paul Farinacci makes it tough to be a first baseman. I’ll just take what I can get every day, because most freshman get red-shirted. I prefer first base, but I’ll play wherever they put me.”
You have had a couple of first this year: your first college hit and your first college victory as a pitcher. Which was a better feeling?
“I would say my first college hit, just because of the atmosphere. We were playing Kansas State at Minute Maid Park (home of the Houston Astros) and it was all a new experience. It was before we actually even had a win (as a team). We were 0-3. With my first college win, it was kind of weird because I only pitched three innings. If I would have gone seven strong innings, it would have been a great feeling.”
What differences are there between high school baseball and college baseball?
“It is not a jump. But in college you’re working every day, beginning in fall. I played basketball in high school, so I wouldn’t have started baseball until basketball season was done. It is all the time. To tell the truth, there is a lot more pressure, at least at Ohio State, just to win. At my high school, we won, but here you’ve got to win. You’ve got tons of supporters coming down all the time and you don’t want to feel like you’re letting people down, not just your teammates There are so many true Ohio State fans.”
Is there a big adjustment learning to deal with media attention here?
“Oh yeah. That is one thing I was talking to my dad about, the media. I really like it. It’s great, good for the program. All the time you have got reporters coming here. At Watterson, the local, suburban newspaper would be there and call you on your phone at home. The Columbus Dispatch would come in a couple times and do a story about us, but here, after every game people want to know what our thoughts were about the game. It’s a great experience.”
Even though home is not far away, is it different living in a new place?
“I live in a dorm. It’s really great. I live with one of my best friends, (Ohio State freshman pitcher) Dan DeLucia. He went to Watterson. We kind of grew up together, so it’s nice living with him. And it’s really weird because the rest of our dorm room is people from our high school. It’s great being with your best friends from high school and just living together.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I do a lot of hunting in my free time. Jedidiah Stephen, Drew Anderson, Kris Moorman and I have all become really good friends. We go down to where Jed is from (Caldwell, Ohio) and go deer hunting. We do a lot of stuff outdoors. We really like it. It’s a great way for us to bond. In the fall we went down there on the weekend when we didn’t have baseball. We would take off for a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We went down there during Christmas and stayed at Jed’s house. It was great.”
Have you always been an outdoorsman?
“Yeah, I love outdoors. When I was young, my dad got me into hunting because he did it. I got my first buck this year. That was exciting.”
Was getting your first buck more exciting than getting your first hit?
“I don’t know about that. You can always go hunting, but you can only play baseball for so long.”
How long have you been an athlete?
“I played athletics ever since I was little. I started playing baseball when I was 5. That’s always been my true love. It is just something that came natural to me. I also played basketball and football.”
Do you come from an athletic family?
“Yes. My younger sister, Emily, is a high-level gymnast. She’s really good for her age. I have another younger sister, Natalie, and a younger brother, Jeremy. Jeremy is in fourth grade and Natalie is in fifth grade. They play all the sports. Jeremy is playing traveling baseball and Natalie is pretty good at basketball. For them, whatever season it is, they play that sport.”
Were your parents athletic?
“My dad was fast but never played college athletics. My mom didn’t either, but they played athletics in high school. My uncle is a really good golfer. He won the state championship two years at Thomas Worthington.”
Since your major is undecided, do you have any ideas for one yet?
“Right now I’m in health exploration. I don’t really know what field I want to major in, but I want to go to medical school, so I’ll have a pre-med base for all my classes. I really like the idea of medicine. I came from a background where a lot of my friends’ parents were doctors. That’s what I want to do, but I don’t know what field I want to go into yet.”