Heading into his junior year of high school, one Lafayette athlete already has his college career mapped out.
Fighting Irish’s Brayden Luikart committed to Oklahoma University to further his baseball career and education.
“The tradition behind Oklahoma baseball and the success they’ve had in the Big 12, it stuck out to us,” Luikart said. “The facilities are top notch, so you can’t beat it.
Oklahaoma recruited Luikart as a two-way player to pitch and play the outfield.
“The pitching actually got them intrigued and brought them in and then I displayed it with my hitting tools as well,” Luikart said.
The future Sooner was named Class 4 District 16 All-District Team his sophomore year. That same season, he had 13 hits in 26 at-bats and an ERA of 2.10 in four starts.
The lefty made his fourth start of the season throwing a complete game no-hitter while striking out 15 batters.
In his freshman season, Luikart was key in the Irish’s district championship season, batting .417 in all 26 games while also pitching 44.1 innings with a 2.21 earned run average.
The St. Joseph native said being relatively close to his family was an important factor when choosing a college.
“We knew early on we wanted a school that is known for education, known for baseball and close to home so my family can travel to the games. Being in the Big 12, Oklahoma plays Kansas and Kansas State so that’s close to home and we have family in Texas, so it’s easy and accessible for them,” Luikart said.
Other than Oklahoma, Luikart received offers and interest from Mizzou, Kansas State, Missouri State, Xavier University, Wichita State, the United States Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy.
Though he was contacted by several colleges, playing ball at Oklahoma has been a dream of Luikart’s. Therefore, it was an easy decision when given the offer.
“Ever since I was a little kid I fell in love watching Oklahoma football, then grew into watching Oklahoma basketball, and then I started playing baseball so I fell in love with the baseball team,” Luikart said. “Oklahoma was my No. 1 so there was no reason to really wait.”
Luikart said his former Lafayette coach Jason Hale was one of the first people to believe in him. Hale led Luikart and the Irish to the district title in 2018 and a runner-up finish last season.
“Brayden is extremely humble and he’s always looking for good information,” Hale said. “He’s starved for knowledge and I love that about him. Not only is he passionate, he goes 100 miles per hour at everything he does. He’s got that mindset that I’m never done at trying to learn and trying to get better. I think a lot of players forget to get better.”
With college two years away, the 17-year-old wants to stay grounded and healthy.
Luikart said he wants to major in marketing, but admits a lot can change before he has to make that decision.