PILOT MOUNTAIN — College coaches log endless miles tracking down potential targets, but every once in a while a recruit falls into the coach’s lap.
Jamie Lowe, baseball coach for Surry Community College (SCC), was all smiles Wednesday as he signed East Surry star Jordan Miller at the high school.
“We are thrilled to get him,” Lowe said of Jordan. He was one of the best seniors in this area, and Lowe said he has made a concerted effort to better recruit local talent.
Jordan is one of the best arms, and players, in the SCC Knights’ recruiting territory, he said.
Jordan has been a big part of East Surry’s success the past three years, Lowe believed.
Coach Barry Hall always does a great job with his young men, and the players are well prepared when they graduate, Lowe said.
“We’ll take all we can get,” he said.
Hall said he was lucky to have Jordan for three seasons. He also coached his older brother Jeremy for two years on varsity.
These are fine young men, and their parents have always been very supportive of East Surry sports, Hall said.
Jordan was an all-conference performer as a junior, but began to feel discomfort in his throwing elbow.
He said he had received attention from several colleges, but once he found out he needed surgery, many teams backed away from recruiting him.
It wasn’t a quick tear or pop like some major leaguers have felt, he said. A ligament was rubbing over the end of bones in his elbow until it was worn practically threadbare.
Surgery replaced the damaged ligament with one harvested from his wrist. The surgeon drilled holes in the arm bones to attach the ligament in a position where it wouldn’t be subjected to the same wear over the head of a bone.
The operation took more than an hour longer than expected, mom Anna said, which had her concerned. However, it was a huge success, and Jordan began recovering at a fast rate.
Some college coaches thought he came back too quickly, the senior noted. However, he never exceeded his doctor’s orders.
Jordan said he was doing physical therapy daily and having regular checkups with his physician. The doctor set a calendar and guidelines for what activities Jordan could do and when he could do them.
Just to be cautious, he and his physical therapist stayed a week or two behind that calendar. Still, he was back throwing a baseball softly this spring and soon was able to throw at moderate strength from the mound.
Hall said Jordan deserved a lot of credit for his diligence in rehab. By the state playoffs, Jordan threw a complete game, his first since last season.
With scouts backing off, Jordan thought that playing for the local college team could give him a chance to show everyone he is fully healed.
Hall made a call, and Lowe was “tickled” to get a player who was most outstanding player of the conference tournament as a sophomore and a three-year all-conference performer.
“This is a good chance for him to finish healing and get recruited all over again,” said Lowe.
While Lowe is interested in Miller’s pitching, the senior also batted cleanup in the order.
If he gets a chance to play some as a regular outfielder, that would be fine, Jordan said, but he loves pitching more than any other part of the game.
“If I get to bat, that’s just the icing on the cake,” he said.
He attended a weekend workout for the Knights so that he could meet some of his future teammates. He also is pleased to hear that some other local players are joining him next year.
Surry Central’s Hunter Smith has signed, and Lowe said he is close to announcing some players from North Surry as well.
Jordan said he knows all these guys from travel ball and all-star games. Leaving East Surry will be hard, but getting to see some familiar faces will ease the transition, he admitted.
As for his future, Jordan said he had long thought to come back to high school to teach math and coach a team.
Considering a teacher’s salary and that some schools have cut back on faculty, he has reconsidered that plan.
Ironically, his injury has spurred a new interest.
Physical therapy is an intriguing career, he said. He went to a therapist in the hopes of avoiding surgery and worked many hours with one both before and after the operation.
As a sports therapist, he could still feel like he’s a part of a sports team. And he could help others improve and return to the activities they enjoy. And the pay is better, he added.
“I think going through all this has made him more compassionate,” said Anna. Jordan couldn’t do the things he loved, and he feels empathy with others who are hurting, she said.
In order to reach this goal, Jordan is going to have to focus on his grades, too, said dad Tim.
“He’s going to study and study and study and then play some ball,” Tim advised.
It all sounds good to Lowe.