Marshalltown Community College sophomore Andrew Utterback admitted having two Tiger teammates already signed to Alabama A&M played a factor in his decision to join the party.
Utterback made it official with the Division I baseball program this week when he signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Bulldogs.
"I felt it was just right," said Utterback, who is among the MCC leaders in home runs and RBIs this season. "The fact that Justen Folger and Ben Ryder are going there, too, played a role. Justen told me that the coaching staff was driven and ready to turn things around."
Contributed photo by Michele Frost/Marshalltown Community College
Marshalltown Community College sophomore Andrew Utterback, third from left, signed a National Letter of intent to play baseball at Division I Alabama A&M?earlier this week. His parents — Larry and Kathy — and MCC basebal coach Rich Grife, right, are also pictured.
The Alabama A&M coaching staff is new. They are trying to rebuild a program that is currently 6-39 on the season. The Bulldog offense is hitting just .247 and has a combined 10 home runs.
Utterback said he wants to be a part of the rebuilding project and thinks he can provides some power and production in the middle of the lineup, along with Folger.
"They have told me that everything is open as far as positions are concerned," Utterback said. "I hope to get there, play left field, bat in the middle of the lineup and produce some RBIs for them."
Alabama A&M was the only Division I offer Utterback received. He also had plenty of interest from Western Illinois and Illinois State. Utterback said those two schools wanted to wait until later in the recruiting process before extending a scholarship offer.
Utterback is not into waiting.
"It feels great to get this out of the way and to be moving on to a Division I school," Utterback said. "We could be a part of something special. It's a process, but hopefully we can be a part of the turnaround.
"Playing Division I baseball is always what I wanted to do. It is truly a dream come true."
Utterback is a native of Sigourney and admitted to be family oriented. The trek to Alabama will be a big change for the Tiger sophomore but having Folger and Ryder taking part in the journey with him will help ease the transition of being thousands of miles away from home.
"The coaches are great guys to talk to and I will have a chance to play right away," Utterback said. "It'll be a big change. My parents told me they supported whatever decision I made and they would try to do what they could to get down and see some games."
Utterback has yet to see the campus and the facilities at Alabama A&M but he and Folger are planning a trip to Huntsville, Alabama, as soon as the Marshalltown season ends.
The Tigers will play in the Region XI Tournament starting at 2 p.m. Friday when they take on second-seeded Indian Hills.
"We have to get to their bullpen early and if we do that, I think we'll be all right," Utterback said of the matchup with one of their biggest rivals. "We need to get the bats going early."