LYNN HAVEN, FL – A member of a familiar family to Plymouth sports fans will be coming “home” for his college baseball career.
Jaden Rudd, currently a senior at A. Crawford Mosley High School in Lynn Haven, Florida has signed a letter of intent to play his college baseball at the University of Notre Dame next season. He sports a career batting average of .351 and hit .467 in a COVID limited last season. On the mound, he is 9-2 on his career with an ERA of 2.55.
Jaden’s father, Jason, and his uncle Ned Jr. were both three-sport athletes at Plymouth High School and a big part of the success of Plymouth baseball in their year’s on the diamond.
Both also went on to play at the Air Force Academy – Ned in football and Jason in baseball – on their way to careers in the Air Force.
The family passion for the sport got passed on in Jaden’s DNA.
“It’s really the reason why I play baseball because of my dad and my dad’s dad (Ned Sr.),” he said. “The biggest influence in my life is probably my family and how important it is for them for me to play.”
As you might guess it started early for Jaden.
“I’ve been playing since I could barely walk, probably four years old,” he said. “Dad started playing with me in the yard and he signed me up (for T ball) and I’ve been playing ever since.”
A left-handed pitcher and an outfielder there is clearly one position that he likes best.
“I like playing the outfield the best,” he said. “I like hitting.”
“There are a lot of things about baseball,” he said of the attraction the sport holds for him. “It’s a game that teaches me a lot about life, dealing with failure, competitiveness. It’s helped me a lot. I had a little knack for it and it makes me a better person playing the game.”
Right now Rudd is undecided about his major but knows there is some time for that decision.
“I’ll probably study business, maybe psychology,” he said. “I really don’t know what I want to do. My freshman year will be core classes only so it gives me some time to figure out what I want to do when I’m there.”
With more than one choice, Jaden knew that Notre Dame was the right one.
“I knew when they started recruiting me it just felt right,” he said. “I know it’s a really good school academically and that’s something that I was looking for. You get to play ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) baseball which is top of the line.”
“The campus,” he said of Notre Dame. “There’s nothing better I could ask for there. The head coach (Link Jarrett) just got in there and he’s a great guy, he’s running a tight ship and that’s something that I wanted to be a part of.”
“Florida State and Florida are great programs, great schools but a lot of them value their recruits a little less than schools like Notre Dame or Duke,” he said. “The high academic schools value their recruits more because of the requirements to get accepted. It’s just different.”
“All around I just knew when they (Notre Dame) came into my life it was the right thing for me.”
It will be a big change for Rudd and not just the distance between Florida and South Bend.
“I’m sure I’ll miss my house and parents (Jason and Mom Brittany),” he said. “I know I’ll miss the weather and drinking sweet tea and that stuff. I’m sure the excitement of being there (Notre Dame) and being surrounded by the people I’ll be surrounded by and keeping busy I’ll be alright.”
Just like every kid whoever picked up a bat and ball, Jaden wouldn’t mind if his time at Notre Dame led to a little more baseball at the professional level.
“I don’t know where it might fit in, out of high school or college or wherever but it’s been my dream since I was a little kid,” said Jaden. “If I get the opportunity I would have to consider it.”
While that might be a future decision Rudd is focused on what the end of the next four years will bring.
“I want to have a degree,” said Jaden. “I want to go on playing baseball as long as I can. It’s what I want to do. It’s what I’ve done my whole life.”
“I don’t know yet. I’ll just see where the Lord takes me.”