At one point last fall, there were two current high school seniors named Jordan Montgomery who had committed to and planned to sign with South Carolina.
One was a hybrid linebacker/safety from Groveland, Fla., who had planned to play football for the Gamecocks. The other was a standout pitcher from Sumter, who was an aspiring baseball player for USC.
It turns out that only one of them seems certain to see his plans materialize. The football-playing Montgomery was unable to sign last month due to USC’s overcrowded recruiting class. However, the baseball-playing Montgomery inked a National Letter of Intent last November and has designs on a great career in Columbia.
The Sumter native is a talented, projectable pitcher with plenty of upside already. He’s 6-foot-5, 200 pounds with room to grow and has a nasty breaking pitch.
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“He’s always been a really tight player about doing things the right way,” Sumter coach Brooks Shumake said. “His ability has progressed every year. He’s a fine pitcher for us right now.
“His breaking pitch is really nice, and he throws his changeup for a strike. He’s got three pitches he can throw for strikes. He’s got a lot of tail with his fastball. [USC’s coaches] are hoping that his velocity get a little better every year, but they like a lot of things about him. He’s got some good upside.”
Montgomery’s velocity has reached as high as 87 miles per hour, Shumake said. Still, he’s been able to strike out his fair share of batters, fanning 20 in his last two outings. He’s been mostly a starter during his prep career.
“I can keep people off balance and throw everything where I want to,” Montgomery said. “I can overpower people when I want to, but I usually just keep that in my back pocket if I need it. My out pitch is my curveball.
“I usually keep a calm head on the mound. Nothing gets to me.”
Unlike many of USC’s signees, there is no question where Montgomery will play. Though he’ll man first base and hit every now and then for Sumter, he’s unlikely to do anything but pitch for the Gamecocks.
“It’s hard for me to project how he fits in,” Shumake said. “They’ve got so many pitchers, a stable of them. They get them over there and figure it out once they get there. I know he’ll be there, and he’ll have an opportunity to pitch for them in some capacity.”
His future could depend on his ability to get stronger. That would add some velocity to his fastball and make his off-speed pitches even more dangerous.
“Hopefully I’ll gain weight,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been trying to. I think my fastball will get a lot better.”