Cowley College sophomore Aaron Rea heard all about Wichita State's baseball program as a youngster.
Even in Lawrence, Shocker baseball made an impression. Rea (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) has given WSU an oral commitment and plans on signing in November.
"I remember my dad talking about cool schools to play college baseball," Rea said. "LSU, Miami (Fla.). He always put Wichita State on that same level. I definitely never forgot that."
Rea, who can play outfield or infield, will get his chance to play for WSU in 2012. He starts in right field for Cowley and played shortstop at Lawrence High.
He also considered Kansas State and Oklahoma State. He looked at many factors, ultimately deciding he felt most comfortable with the WSU coaches.
"I felt like they really wanted me there," he said. "I was real big on the tradition and the community support of the program."
Rea, a right-handed-hitter, hit .348 with 15 doubles, seven home runs and .423 on-base percentage as a freshman. His 66 RBI led the Tigers and he stole 17 bases in 19 attempts. Rea earned second-team All-Jayhawk Conference honors.
"My best attribute would be my hitting," he said. "I'm not real big on trying to hit home runs. I want to be counted on to score runners and do what's best for the team."
At Lawrence High, Rea was named 2009 Sunflower League Player of the Year and All-Metro by the Kansas City Star. He hit .433 for the Class 6A champions, with four home runs and 17 steals. He compiled a .558 on-base percentage and a .657 slugging percentage.
"I want to put on another 10 pounds and get stronger," he said. "I need to get more polished as a hitter. I've got a few holes in my swing."
Rea is the seventh player to commit to WSU. Players can sign in November.
Also on the list are St. Louis DeSmet lefty Kyle Bouman, Lincoln (Neb.) Southeast outfielder Taylor Doggett, Maize outfielder Conner Knight, Shawnee Heights utility player Tyler Baker, Omaha Millard North first baseman Casey Gillaspie and Omaha Millard West pitcher A.J. Ladwig.
Pitcher Mitch Mormann, a transfer from LSU, is redshirting this season and will be eligible in 2012.