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UF Baseball: Austin Langworthy Signs with Detroit Tigers, Reflects on Gators Career

BY AUSTIN LANGWORTHY

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

This is a first-person story written by University of Florida senior outfielder Austin Langworthy. The Detroit Tigers announced Langworthy’s signing Wednesday (July 1) afternoon.

Signing with the University of Florida remains the best decision I ever made in my life.

I had the chance to play college baseball at the best university in the country, with the program I grew up cheering for, right down the road from my family’s home in Williston.

I joined the Gators and hoped I would play for a national championship, befriend some of the best players in the nation, make plenty of memories, spend a summer or two in the Cape Cod League, and eventually get selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, or sign a professional contract.

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I checked all those boxes.

I was fortunate enough to contribute to the program’s first national championship my freshman year. I spent three summers in the Cape. I played with first-round MLB Draft picks. I hit a walk-off home run I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I earned a professional contract offer.

I talked it over with my family, had a number of conversations with Sully (head coach Kevin O’Sullivan) and the coaching staff, and discussed it with some close friends back home. They were all a big help. But, at the end of the day, they all made it clear it was my decision. They would have been happy with me coming back to Florida, and they’re happy for me signing a contract with the Detroit Tigers.

Would I love to come back and chase another national title with basically the same team that won the first 16 games in 2020? Absolutely. But I’ll be 23 years old come September, and age works against professional baseball prospects more often than not. It’s just the harsh reality of this great game. That’s why it’s time for me to fulfill the dream I’ve had in my head since Little League.

That’s really the best way I can explain the decision. It’s just time.

Thankfully, for me, that walk-off home run against Auburn is timeless.

I’ll remember the roar from Gator Nation when the ball bounced over the wall. I’ll remember throwing my hand up after I rounded first base in a full sprint. I don’t remember getting to second or third, but I’ll never forget sprinting home and celebrating that moment with everyone on the team.

I can only hope Gator Nation, and my teammates and coaches remember me as the local boy who achieved every goal I set for myself. It doesn’t soften the emotional blow of leaving the Gators. But as long as that’s the legacy I leave behind, I’ll forever be at peace with this decision.

It’s been a hell of a ride, and I’m thankful for everyone who was part of the journey.

Go Gators!

–Austin Langworthy

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