Tuesday afternoon, Ricks’ uncertainty came to an end as he signed an academic scholarship and committed to play baseball for Huntingdon College in Montgomery in Fayetteville’s library.
“It is exciting,” Ricks said. “This is something I always hoped that I would be doing, but I wasn’t sure I would get the opportunity. I am glad that I am going somewhere not too far from home. I know a few people that’s going down there from Sylacauga and I am glad that I am going down there with them.”
The two-time All-State member said he felt Huntingdon was the best fit for him.
“The small classes and I had the opportunity to play baseball down there,” Ricks said. “It wasn’t a hard decision for me. I kind of knew this is where I wanted to go once I got accepted down there.”
Ricks had a great season at the plate for the Wolves. The 6-foot-7 first baseman/third baseman had a batting average of .446 and he was ninth in the state with 44 RBIs. The Hawks of Huntingdon will give Ricks a chance to see if he can hit on the next level, but he was signed as a pitcher. As a pitcher, he went 5-6 on the season. He had an ERA of 2.53 and he struck out 82 batters in 52 innings of action on the mound.
“He (Coach Conville) said I will be mainly pitching,” Ricks said. “I am excited about pitching on the college level. I definitely know that they are going to help me get better down there.”
Fayetteville head coach Morris Phillips is elated about Ricks’ opportunity to play on the collegiate level.
“God has blessed us with a lot of talented young men at Fayetteville over the last couple of years,” Phillips said. “Justin signing is an example of that talent. I am very proud for Justin and thankful that I have been able to coach him the last six years. He is a great kid that I am going to miss personally. I want to thank DJ Conville and Huntingdon College for signing Justin and giving him a chance to further his career.”
The lefty plans to give his maximum effort in everything he does while attending Huntingdon.
“I am going to give them 100 percent on and off the field,” Ricks said. “I am going to give them my all in the classroom, out of the classroom and on the baseball field.”
Phillips said Ricks is a very coach able player and that he is going to go work hard everyday he is there.
“Justin is a hard worker,” Phillips said. “I think he will try very hard. He is a very smart kid. When the kid tries and applies himself, he is unbelievable. He is a very good athlete; he is going to work hard and he is going to do what the coaches asks, like he did at Fayetteville. I couldn’t be prouder for him and I am excited.”
Ricks said he appreciated everything his parents and coaches did to get him the opportunity to live out one of his dreams.
“I want to thank my parents for always supporting me and giving me a chance to go down there to play,” Ricks said. “I want to thank my coaches for always being there for me.”