FAYETTEVILLE -- Nearly a year ago, Fayetteville High School senior pitcher Peyton Wesson was on the road to recovery after a right knee injury robbed him of his junior baseball season.
As of Monday, Wesson’s road now points to Troy University after he signed a letter-of-intent to play baseball for the Trojans during a signing ceremony in the school’s library. Wesson said Division I University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Alabama State each offered him an opportunity to play for them, and he also had discussions with University of Alabama at Birmingham before making his decision.
“I finished the recruiting with, I think, about 11 offers,” he said. “Whenever I went on my visit to Troy, I just knew none of them compared to the feeling I had whenever I went there. The atmosphere and everything about it, the coaches and the players -- everything was great. I loved every bit of it from the moment I went there.”
His future did not seem as certain on Feb. 15 prior to the start of last season, when he suffered a broken bone near his right knee that sidelined him for nearly four months. Wesson said at the time of the injury, he had his doubts, but a strong summer changed his perspective.
“Missing my whole junior year was tough, but I worked hard to come back that summer,” he said. “I had a really great summer with my travel (ball) organization, TPL (The Prospect Lab). They helped me get back to 100 percent. They’re really great guys, and they helped me get some of the offers I got.”
Wesson said he signed with the school to play pitcher and he’s eager to begin working with the coaching staff.
“All the coaches, they’re great guys,” he said. “Coming from Fayetteville, the coaches we’ve had here have been nothing but great, and I’m looking forward to moving on to the next level and having those guys. Coach (Matt) Hancock, the pitching coach there, he’s very organized and structured from Day One, and I’m just that kind of person. I like having a foundation. If you can tell me something, I’ll go do it. He gives you a binder Day One, and it has everything planned out for the rest of the year. I really love that about him.”
During his sophomore season, Fayetteville fell short of a Class 2A state baseball title against G.W. Long, but Wesson said he benefited from being part of that team.
“It was a great experience,” Wesson said. “I’ve played with these guys that I’ve grown up with all my life, and I can’t take any of that for granted. Moving up to Troy, I’ll play with a bunch of guys I’ve never met before and that’ll be a big challenge for me. Making it to the state championship was a dream come true. We didn’t finished where we wanted to, but I couldn’t have asked for a better season or better guys.”
Fayetteville head coach Morris Phillips said he told Troy head coach Mark Smartt he’ll be getting a great kid who isn’t afraid to put in plenty of work.
“You’re getting a kid that says ‘Yes, sir’ and ‘No, sir’ and gives it his all,” Phillips said. “His work ethic is unbelievable. On and off the field, the strength and conditioning program he does, he works seven days a week on it. He’s a hard worker. (Smartt’s) also getting a guy who is very smart with a high ACT score and a guy who is going to help them out academically as a team as well as on the mound.”
Wesson said he’d like to study sports medicine or exercise science at Troy.