Florida State’s coaching staff has been doing work on the JUCO trail to fill some needs for the 2021 season. FSU has added two outfielders to some thin outfield depth, and a catcher and shortstop to fill possible holes after the 2020 MLB draft. The Seminoles have picked up their fifth JUCO commit of the cycle with Leighton Alley.
Congrats to Leighton Alley and his commitment to FSU. pic.twitter.com/sb1bulaZbE— TCC Baseball (@TCCEaglesBB) April 1, 2020
Alley comes from Tallahassee Community College and is out of Nease High School, where he was a two-sport star. Alley threw for over 5000 yards as a QB and threw 88.1 innings on the hill. He has had quite the journey to this commitment.
The St. Augustine-native started his college career at FSU, where he planned to play both football and baseball as a preferred walk-on, but a shoulder surgery kept him out for fall, before Jimbo Fisher and his staff left Tallahassee. He then played spring football at Tennessee, before deciding to give baseball one last chance at TCC, where he had two years of JUCO eligibility.
After struggling his first year, he switched to a low, sidearm slot late in fall ball of 2019, which has opened up many roads for the RHP. This season, Alley posted a 2.01 ERA and 30 K’s in 22.1 innings. Alley will bring a fastball, slider, changeup mix to Florida State.
The former two-way star will provide an extra weapon for Jimmy Belanger in 2020. He can get both RHH’s and LHH’s out while working multiple innings out of the pen. Alley will likely come into FSU as a redshirt sophomore, which he was this season.
Had a great chat with Chris Parker, who is the President/CEO of @NJCAA.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) March 31, 2020
He said any waiver requested to NJCAA from a Division I institution to get a player a year of eligibility back will be immediately approved.
So, in essence, yes, JC players will keep the same classification
I had a chance to catch up with Alley after his commitment and ask him some questions.
Q: After the crazy road you’ve been on these last few years, how much does it mean to you to have the opportunity to play baseball at Florida state?
“It means a lot. I’ve grown up watching FSU football and baseball games and it’s always been a dream of mine. My ultimate goal of going to TCC was to end up back at Florida state and I’m really happy things worked out.”
Q: With everything that’s going on in the world right now with Covid-19, what were you doing to make sure your name got out there with coaches and how do you maintain your training now?
I had a solid start to the season this year and that kinda helped get my name out their a little bit with the help of my coaches. I was fortunate enough that coach Belanger came out to watch me pitch before the season got canceled. Recently I’ve just been trying to stay in shape by working out in the garage and stuff coming up with makeshift workouts. Still able to find some fields to go to here and throw and get work in.”
Q: Since talking to the coaching staff, what has been the thing that impresses you the most about this new staff?
“I think what’s impressed me was their excitement to get back and play and how they’re excited about the guys they have coming back next year.”
Q: What’s the number one thing you’ll bring to the FSU pitching staff in 2021?
“Next year I just hope to be a consistent guy out of the bullpen that guys can rely on to get the job done no matter the situation. I try to throw a lot of strikes get ahead and let my defense make some plays for me.”