McNabb returning to Pearl River CC

By JOSHUA CAMPBELL,

Former West Marion standout pitcher Trace McNabb is opting to forego a scholarship to a Division I university to tend to some unfinished business at Pearl River Community College for a third season.

In a press release from Pearl River detailing Dub Herring Park’s renovation that was published in The Columbian-Progress, it said that McNabb would be leaving the Wildcats to join Southeastern (La.), who he signed with prior to his sophomore year. However, McNabb has chosen to opt out of his national letter of intent and will return to the community college for one final season.

“I just felt like it was a once-in-a-lifetime type opportunity I had. I love Southeastern and would love to go back there. I told the coaches I’d definitely be interested in going back after this year and want to stay in touch, but I just love Pearl River,” he explained. “It’s been the best two years of my life, and I know it will be one of the best years of my life when I go back. I just love that place, the coaches and everything about it. I felt like it was hard to pass up on that.”

McNabb added that it was the hardest decision he ever had to make to give up his scholarship for his final two years of college. Many of his teammates were able to make their decisions rather quickly, but McNabb said it took him up until the deadline Southeastern gave him to choose.

“If it wasn’t for (the deadline), I’d probably still be trying to decide,” he said Tuesday. “I finally felt like I made the best decision. Money is one thing, but you don’t get years back out of your life. That’s the way I looked at it.”

Usually when a player signs a letter of intent, he is locked into that school. However, with the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA and the National Junior College Athletic Association granted student athletes of spring sports and extra year of eligibility and the opportunity to get out of a letter of intent. Now McNabb’s recruitment for after next season is opened back up, and he would have to get a new scholarship offer from Southeastern to go there. He chose to sign with Southeastern in November 2019 over Memphis.

He said he realizes how big of a risk it is to back to Pearl River and give up two years of scholarship money he may never get again, but he’s willing to take the chance. One of his biggest motivations is potentially winning a national title with the Wildcats. Pearl River was ranked No. 2 in the country before the pandemic, and McNabb said between what it has returning and the players coming in Pearl River will be right back in the thick of it next year.

“If we do what we’re supposed to do, we have a real good shot,” he said.

Despite it being his third year with the Wildcats next season, McNabb will be classified as a sophomore with two years of eligibility remaining following the end of the year.

McNabb had a 3.72 ERA through 9 2/3 innings pitched before the 2020 season was cancelled. As a freshman in 2019, he had a 6.75 ERA in 10 2/3 innings. 

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