Bryan Bussey knew all along that junior college baseball was merely a detour to bigger things.
And the realization has really hit home now that the 2012 North Buncombe graduate is days away from leaving for Tallahassee, Fla.
Bussey has signed with Florida State to continue his career as a catcher.
He was a redshirt sophomore last spring for Walters State (Tennessee), which went 57-12 and placed third in May’s National Junior College Athletic Association World Series.
Bussey has worked out all summer at his high school alma mater and did so again Tuesday.
“There’s excitement and there’s stress. But more excitement than anything,” Bussey said.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play for (longtime Seminoles coach Mike Martin). When the chance came up, I jumped on it. I’m used to winning after coming from Walters State and that’s what I want to continue to do at Florida State.”
Bussey said he also considered Western Carolina, Georgia Southern and Northern Kentucky before committing at the start of summer.
The former Black Hawks standout batted .307 with 31 RBIs, 11 walks, eight doubles, six home runs and 36 runs scored for Walters State this past season. He even stole five bases.
Bussey threw out 15 baserunners, and his arm was one of the major things that enticed the Seminoles, according to North Buncombe coach Matt Landreth. Bussey played for a different coach in high school (Wesley King), but Landreth is a 2002 Black Hawks graduate and naturally happy for a fellow alum.
“It’s great when you see guys from your program like Bryan go on to get these kinds of opportunities,” Landreth said.
“He’s been coming out and hitting a lot with me this summer and it’s been good to have him around, especially for our younger kids.”
Next season will be Martin’s 37th as coach at Florida State and he has signed more than one Western North Carolina catcher for 2016. Recent Smoky Mountain graduate Cal Raleigh committed in July.
Bussey said he is aware of Raleigh, who is the reigning Citizen-Times All-WNC Player of the Year, but the two do not know one another personally.
They will soon.
The mountain duo will be competing for a spot vacated by former Seminoles catcher Danny De La Calle. He was selected in the ninth round of this year’s major league draft and has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays organization for $750,000.
Fall semester classes at Florida State begin on Aug. 24.