NDA’s Musial commits to Arkansas State
By Greg Bates
Deuce Musial II has found the perfect place he’ll call home during college.
On Nov. 22, the Notre Dame Academy senior verbally committed to play baseball at Arkansas State University.
Musial, a 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher, is excited to play Division I baseball at the next level. Members of the Sun Belt Conference, the Red Wolves went 11-38 in 2022.
“I really like the coaching staff and stuff like that there,” Musial said. “They’re really great to me in the recruiting process, and they’re always kind of checking up on me. The school is great and the conference that they play in is great. I think they had four teams that made it to the College World Series last year. So it was kind of everything that went into the mix there.”
As a sophomore, Musial verbally committed to Illinois State University. However, in August of this year, he decommitted and opened the recruiting process back up.
“I just felt like it wasn’t really the best long-term fit,” Musial said. “After taking some time and looking everything over, I think that I found my home at Arkansas State and I’m excited to get after it.”
Once Musial was back on the market, colleges flocked to him to acquire his talent. He was in close contact with Nebraska, Wichita State, Winthrop and Milwaukee.
Notre Dame Academy baseball coach Jared Barker is happy Musial landed with his desired program. Barker knows Musial has a lot to offer Arkansas State on the diamond.
“A ton of upside,” Barker said. “I still think he’s one of those kids who’s got a lot of growth to happen yet. He hasn’t come close to his ceiling yet, so I think he offers a lot of upside.”
Since the Tritons’ baseball season ended in June, Musial has hit the weights hard and gained about 20 pounds — he’s up to 203 pounds.
That extra weight has helped add velocity to his fastball. Musial said his two-seamer has been clocked at 93 mph.
“That was the biggest difference between him and anybody else,” Barker said. “He’s a big, tall, lanky kid, he gets off the hill and he’s just on top of you. His mid-80s look upper 80s because he’s just so much closer.”
Musial has a four-pitch repertoire with four- and two-seam fastballs, a slider and splitter.
The Arkansas State coaches really like what they are getting with Musial.
“They said projectability is kind of a big thing, because I’m a pretty big guy at 6-foot-5,” Musial said. “Just working hard and stuff like that and being coachable.”
Musial isn’t sure if Arkansas State will use him as a starter or reliever. It really doesn’t matter to him, he just wants to compete and help the team win.
Musial has been told he will get a shot to play as a freshman.
“They said for sure getting some innings and some opportunities when I step on the campus,” Musial said.
“He’s capable,” said Barker about Musial stepping in to play his first season. “He’s got the frame. He’s got the size. He’ll do fine.”
Musial loves that he’ll get a shot to play Division I baseball. He knows playing the game with “Musial” on the back of his jersey is big since he’s related to National Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Deuce Musial said. “Eventually, hopefully I can play for the Cardinals, too. That’d be pretty cool as they’re my favorite team. I can’t swing it like him, that’s for sure.”
When Deuce started playing baseball as a kid, he found out about Stan, who passed away in 2013.
“My parents kind of just told me about him,” Musial said. “It’s pretty cool to be related to someone of that caliber.”
One final season
Musial is looking forward to his senior season at Notre Dame. The Tritons came up one game shy of making it to the state tournament last year, so that fuels Musial.
With Notre Dame pitcher Caden Capomaccio graduating last season and is now playing at the University of Minnesota, that frees the way for Musial to be the Tritons’ ace this year.
Knowing where he’ll be playing baseball in college takes a load off Musial’s mind, and he’ll be able to concentrate on his senior campaign.
“It’s pretty nice because in the recruiting process it can kind of be a little overwhelming I’m sure for all the athletes that go through this and kind of wondering where you fit in and if the school’s the right fit and what your athletic and academic career is going to be for the next four or so years,” Musial said. “It’s definitely weight off the shoulders, kind of finding a home.”