When he was younger, Collegiate senior Tyler Coughenour liked to watch Wichita State baseball games from the outfield hill.
On Monday, he got a behind-the-scenes look at Shocker baseball on a recruiting visit. By Tuesday, his transformation from fan to recruit to future Shocker was complete. Coughenour, a 6-foot, 220-pound shortstop, orally committed to WSU and plans to sign a letter of intent soon.
Enjoying player privileges at the indoor practice facility is one of the appealing parts of being a Shocker.
"That thing is the coolest thing I've ever seen," he said. "I went on a visit Monday and I liked what I saw."
Coughenour plays shortstop for Collegiate after catching as a junior. He said coach Gene Stephenson sees him playing first base, third base or the outfield. That versatility is part of what makes him a standout at Collegiate.
"He's very attuned to the game of baseball," Collegiate coach Trent Nesmith said. "Our goal was to play him at shortstop (as a junior). We had an injury and we put him behind the plate. He went out and had a phenomenal year."
Collegiate assistant coach Mike Gehrer calls Coughenour the team's rottweiler. He expects Coughenour to show up as a freshman and be a leader who plays hard and pushes teammates to get better.
"They're getting a guy that's very tenacious," Gehrer said. "He's a strong kid that attacks the game. He never backs off."
Both coaches called Coughenour an intelligent, patient hitter who uses all fields.
"He has a terrific eye at the plate," Nesmith said. "He understands how he is being pitched."
Coughenour signed a non-binding letter with Cowley College before deciding to accept WSU's scholarship offer. Nesmith expected a Division I school to come after Coughenour as he played with his summer team, the Wichita Reds.
"He will fit in great at Wichita State," Nesmith said.