Oxford High School senior Drew Bianco fulfilled a dream on Wednesday as he signed with a D1 baseball program. He will spend his college career playing at Alex Box Stadium down in Baton Rouge for the LSU Tigers.
“Being able to make it official today is very exciting,” Drew Bianco said.
“It’s great to see how much hard work he has put into this and to watch him accomplish one of his dreams to play college baseball and to play in the Southeastern Conference and play for a great program. We are all very excited,” Ole Miss Baseball Head Coach Mike Bianco, the high schooler’s father, said.
Growing up, Bianco was always on the baseball field. All of his brothers played the game. It’s in their blood.
Coach Bianco and his wife, Camile, are alumni of LSU, where he played and coached for the Tigers before moving to Oxford and taking over the Rebels’ baseball team. Coach Bianco said they wanted their kids to expand their horizons and attend college in a different town than where they grew up.
“We always wanted them to have an experience like I did,” Coach Bianco said. “Not necessarily at that school, but an experience like I did, in the sense of, you’ve gotta go somewhere and make a team. You’ve gotta grow up and learn how to live and get an education. I think that is what college is all about, and we wanted them to experience all of that. We didn’t want them to come [to Ole Miss] because of that. They grew up here; we didn’t think it would be the same experience playing for their father as it would be adventuring out on their own. In doing that, we didn’t want to eliminate another school. This was his choice, where [LSU] recruited him, and he went down there.”
The Tigers started talking to Bianco after his ninth-grade season, when he stood out by hitting a ball off the left-field wall in game two of the state championship series at Trustmark Park.
“They started recruiting me pretty well [that summer],” Drew Bianco said. “They came to a lot of my games. They came to one of my high school games my sophomore year, and they said they wanted me to come on a visit, and they offered me [a scholarship].”
All four of Coach Bianco’s kids – Michael, Ben, Drew and Sam – have played for the Chargers. Sam is a sophomore infielder at OHS, while Ben plays baseball at the University of Indiana, one of several schools – including the University of Louisville – that recruited Drew.
But Drew Bianco knew LSU was the place for him after he visited the campus on a recruiting trip.
“It was kinda cool going down there with my mom to the visit because she knows the campus really well,” he said. “She enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it. It was a pretty easy decision, especially the way they treated me. I really liked it.”
Andy Cannizaro, LSU’s former hitting coach and recruiting coordinator, and head coach Paul Maineri were both in the room when Drew Bianco got his offer. Cannizaro later left LSU to become Mississippi State’s skipper, but Drew stuck to his decision.
“It was tough when he left,” he said. “But I didn’t just commit to one coach. I committed to LSU. I love Coach Cannizaro, and we still have a good relationship. But I know where I want to be, and that’s LSU,” Bianco said.
Chris Baughman, head coach of the OHS baseball team, said Bianco has been a real asset to the team as well as a true leader.
“One other kid has started since his freshman year, and it was Michael [Bianco],” Baughman said. “[Drew] is just kind of a rock out there. He’s serious when he needs to be serious, and he provides relief when I am the one that needs to be serious. Those guys look to him when times get tough, [and] they look to him to lead. Drew’s attitude on any given day is going to be the attitude of our team. If he has had a bad day at school, practice is not going to go as well as we hoped. He is what has made us tick and has been a spark every since his ninth-grade year.”
When the Rebels and the Tigers face off in 2019, it will be just another three-game slate for the two teams, but it will be something special for the Bianco family. Both father and son will want to win, but for Camile, it will be tough.
“I am sure she will root for her son when he comes to bat, because she will want him to do well, and she will also root for the Ole Miss Rebels,” Coach Bianco said.
Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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