Almost one year ago, Overland Park (Kan.) Blue Valley Northwest product Mikey Pauley verbally pledged to be a future catcher and corner infielder on the Cornhuskers’ baseball team.
But his recent performance at summer football camps earned him Division I scholarship offers to play quarterback for home state programs Kansas State and Kansas. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Pauley visited Lincoln Thursday to discuss these new developments with the Nebraska baseball coaches.
“I came up with my family, my mom and dad and my brother and sister,” Pauley shared. “This was actually my first time visiting here, but I was up here last spring for a camp. It was really just to get some more information and to see the coaches I haven’t seen in a long time, just because of the whole COVID shutdown.
“We walk through most of the baseball stuff at Haymarket, and then we toured the football facilities and looked at all of that. We also checked out the NAPL [Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab], saw all the nutrition stuff, and then we headed back and checked out the Alex Gordon facility.
“I was just blown away by all the facilities that all the athletes get at Nebraska and it just completely shocked me.”
Pauley and his family ended the day with a sit-down meeting with Husker head baseball coach Will Bolt.
“We talked about the opportunities I’ve had recently with football, and just seeing where those could play out with the decisions I’m going to have to make,” Pauley stated. “We also talked about some possible new stuff coming to the baseball side of things. Just maybe some new facilities that were to come now that Coach Bolt has extended his contract. They’re looking into maybe adding onto some of their baseball facilities.
“My relationship with Coach Bolt has been very good. He’s been very easy on me with this and we both have open communication. When anything comes up with me, he’s usually good to respond. He’s just made this really easy on me.”
Pauley has always been a multi-sport athlete and his “favorite sport” has always been which one he was playing at the time.
“Yeah, that’s usually how it was. Now, I would say, my favorite sport to play is baseball. I feel like I have more of a chance to grow in baseball. It was pretty surprising [to get those football offers] and it’s interesting to have another option to look at. It was eye-opening and kind of shocking at first.
Pauley believes he is capable of playing baseball and football in college, and that he would be up to the challenge.
“There’s been some talk about playing both sports in college at Nebraska, but it’s still up in the air,” Pauley relayed. “We’ve kind of gone back and forth, so it’s something we’re going to need to make a decision on when it gets closer. As a quarterback, I do well extending plays and making like an extra play that a lot of guys don’t, just with my legs and my ability to get out of the pocket.”
Blue Valley Northwest runs the spread offense, and Pauley had 1,405 passing yards and 19 passing touchdowns, as well as 585 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns as a junior.
His summer baseball team is Building Champions out of Kansas City. So far this summer, he has a .350 batting average with two home runs and five stolen bases.
“It’s been really good,” said Pauley, who both bats and throws right-handed. “We recently played in Atlanta and in Indiana. I catch almost every other game, and then I play a different position when I’m not catching. I would say just physical growth is where I’ve improved the most. I just gotten thicker and stronger.”
Pauley closely followed Nebraska’s 2021 baseball season and is excited about the direction of the NU baseball program is headed.
“I tuned into almost every game and I thought it was just a very cool experience to see those guys take it so far. I thought it laid the foundation for what the culture of Nebraska baseball is supposed to be all about. Yeah, I was a little surprised [at the quick turnaround], but after meeting them at the camp and getting to know them so far, I expected it. The [Husker] coaches are great and they know what they’re doing.”
Over the next several weeks, Pauley plans to continue seriously thinking through all of his collegiate options in both sports.
“I’m not 100% sure right now, but I would say I should know closer to the start of my senior year,” Pauley said. “[Kansas State and Kansas Kansas] have not pressured me into making a decision. No one has presented in a timeline so far. It was very good to see Coach Bolt again in person and it was just what I wanted to hear. It was definitely a productive visit!”
Nebraska’s other Class of 2022 baseball commitments are in-state players LHP/OF Hayden Lewis [Yutan], RHP Brandon Lundquist [Millard North], RHP Nate Moquin [Millard South] and RHP Samuel Novotny [Millard West]; RHP Austin Berggren [Olathe, KS] and SS/RHP Dylan Carey [Parker, CO]; and LHP Caleb Clark from Canada.