Standing a foot taller than many of his classmates, and with hands larger than most youth baseball gloves, Destin Dotson walks through the halls of Scotlandville High eager for the day he walks to the mound at a college stadium.
“I’m looking forward to being a pitcher on the college level and just being able to go out there and just enjoy my college years playing baseball and getting my education,” Dotson said.
Dotson, a 6-foot-7-inch, 230-pound left-handed pitcher is destined to make an impact on the college level when he attends Tulane next fall.
For now, the big senior and his team look for some postseason magic when they begin the Division I playoffs Friday at Holy Cross (18-13-1) in a best-of-three regional series.
Game 1 is 4 p.m. in New Orleans, with Game 2 at 1 p.m. Saturday, with a third game to follow if needed.
“I think he has all the tools,” Hornets’ coach Marcus Minor said. “He is a humble young man. As long as he just stays with his technique, I think he will be fine. He is a leader on and off the field.”
Dotson did not have his best season during his junior campaign, Minor said, but with a determined work ethic in the offseason, he has grown his stock to the point that he has been recruited by about 20 schools.
Although predominantly a pitcher, Dotson is determined to help his team in any way he can. Sometimes that means stepping off the mound and handling first base for Scotlandville (11-21). He has also emerged as a strong presence in the Hornets’ batting order.
To get where he has, Dotson has gotten help through some of high-profile programs aimed at making sure diversity remains prominent in baseball at the college level and below.
The Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program is sponsored by Major League Baseball and is designed to promote the game of baseball to teenage boys and girls in disadvantaged areas.
“RBI is basically a development to help kids get better and work on different things with their abilities and enhance their abilities,” said Dotson, who also took part in the Dream Series in January, which is a baseball skills retreat for pitchers and catchers in Tempe, Ariz.
“(The Dream Series) was basically working with my pitching and my mechanics with some former professional athletes and just be able to get prepared for your high school season and tell you a few things that will help you during the season that will make you successful,” Dotson said.
Dotson’s improvements on the field have been clear to anyone since he began to blossom as a sophomore two years ago. Dotson’s abilities were enhanced through camps, trainings and practice, but he said another key motivator in his life is the drive to perform well for his family.
Family strikes at the core of what is important to Dotson in the present and future. He mentioned sharing his knowledge from the Dream Series with his little brothers in hopes that they will be able to achieve their dreams one day just as he has.
Dotson’s drive comes from his love for his family. His grandfather, who was always a major encouragement to him, died last September.
“Just being able to go out there and dedicate the season to him, being able to just leave a legacy for him and to help my little brothers to get to the level that they want to be able to get to,” Dotson said.
The age-old struggle of a student-athlete is where to set priorities and it was no different for Dotson. When faced with the decision on where to attend college, he was given many options but Tulane stood out.
“I just wanted to take some time to think about it, and in January I had made the commitment,” he said. “I know education-wise, it is very strict in my house so my mom was telling me that when I go to college just to pick the best school that has academics and sports so I ended up choosing Tulane.”
Dotson plans on majoring in engineering at Tulane. He has accumulated a 4.2 GPA at Scotlandville.
“I don’t think they really, fully know what they are getting,” Minor said. “They think they are getting an athlete, which Destin, to me, is much more. He’s a great kid, comes from a great family, positive role model. He’s probably the biggest kid on campus, so of course you have your freshmen and sophomores and some juniors looking up to him around campus. I don’t think Tulane knows exactly what they are getting, but I know they are getting a great kid.”