Dedication Lands Justin Williams a Scholarship at Penn State

2018 CINF, Justin Williams, played as a 12U player in Cooperstown with US Elite and so began an amazing journey of development, exposure, and ultimately a D1 scholarship. The talented Williams (Mechanicsburg, PA) recently accepted an offer from Head Coach, Rob Cooper at Penn State. In doing so, Williams became the 9th player from US Elite to commit to the Nittany Lions in just the last 3 years.

Justin’s story is exactly how US Elite Director, Mark Helsel, thinks it should read. “His story is about as “by design” as you can get in our program. Justin started with us when he was 12 years old and his story is an example of a player and family doing everything the right way. They followed our guidance and direction. Justin bought into our culture and he always played the game the right way. He worked hard on all areas of his game. Subsequently,  he got the result we all wanted for him. I could not be more proud of him. He has been a great player in the US Elite program”. Helsel says Williams’ story should serve as motivation for all young players in the program. “Justin is a great role model for our younger players. Following his example will help them tremendously”.

Williams says the journey through the program has been fun, but challenging. “US Elite is all about developing players for the next level. They don’t tell you what you want to hear, but they will tell you what you need to hear. I want to thank Coach LaNeve for believing in me, and helping me through this process. I’ve learned so much from him’. Williams says making adjustments along the way really benefitted him. “Development is a buzz word, but it has been a big part of my journey. I had a lot of good people around me that helped me recognize the parts of my game that I really needed to improve upon. That kind of feedback is critical to becoming a well rounded player”.

Helsel said he enjoyed watching Williams get better and better. “Justin always had the raw talent, even at 12U. He had a very strong arm and could always hit for power. The question with Justin, as is the question with many young players, was will he work hard enough on his deficiencies to become a polished player. In Justin’s case, the answer was obviously “yes”. His defense has improved so much over the years. His footwork got better and he really learned to hit the ball to all fields. “Working with Coach LaNeve and Coach Aspito on hitting at a high level has really helped. The adjustments they helped me with gave me a lot of confidence to hit elite level pitching’, said Williams.

Williams said he chose Penn State over several other schools because it “just felt right”. “Penn State is a program that is really on the move, said Williams. Coach Cooper and his staff are winning the state of Pennsylvania in recruiting and keeping a lot of talented players right here in PA. I’m excited about getting there and winning a Big Ten title. Obviously, a Penn State degree is among the best in the country”. Williams said he would be remiss to not recognize the incredible support he has gotten from his parents. “My mom and dad have sacrificed alot so I could get this opportunity. I have tried to never take that for granted. I know that without their belief in me, and their unending support, I would not be playing D1 baseball. I am very grateful for my parents and I’m glad they will get to see me play at Penn State”.