Seneca baseball standout Titus Atkins had no idea where his recruiting search was taking him at the beginning of his junior year.

He barely even knew what he wanted to major in.

But once he signed up for Next College Student Athlete, a recruiting program designed for aspiring college athletes to connect with coaches, the uncertainty was no more.

“A recommendation for College of the Ozarks popped up on my phone,” Atkins said. “It sent me a camp invite. I went to Missouri State and I went to a lot of other big camps, but I didn’t really enjoy them. I knew they weren’t for me.”

Atkins attended the baseball camp at C of O and that’s when he realized he wanted to be a Bobcat for the next four years.

“I went to C of O and it was completely different,” Atkins said. “Even before we had started the actual baseball part, it just felt a lot more homey. The camp … the coaches, it just felt like home.”

Atkins officially inked the dotted line to play college baseball at C of O last Thursday at Seneca High School in front of family, friends and coaches. Not only that, the majority of the school was also there to witness the senior embark on the next chapter of his life.

“It was so cool,” Atkins said. “I wasn’t really mentally prepared to be the center of attention for the whole school because everybody like let themselves in. They were all watching. It was a really big part of my ceremony.”

Atkins, a 6-foot-2 first baseman at Seneca, batted .394 with four home runs and 14 doubles as a sophomore. He garnered all-conference honors as well as earning academic all-state recognition in 2019. His junior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He is a great student-athlete who is at the top of his class,” Seneca baseball coach Chris Yust said. “He sets a good example for the young kids. He is a good leader. I think he is one of the better defensive first baseman in the area that I’ve seen. He continues to get better at the plate. Defensively, he is a big plus for us at first base. If you throw anything close to him, he is going to catch it. At the plate, he is a left-handed hitter and swings well.”

While he didn’t play high school competition last spring, Atkins relied on playing travel ball and doing his own individual workouts to make up for lost time. In fact, he said he dropped 20 pounds and put on six pounds of pure muscle during quarantine.

“I have been in the weight room every single day,” Atkins said. “It’s making a huge difference.”

Yust said he is excited to see what Atkins can accomplish playing baseball at the next level, a testament to his hard work in the classroom and on the field.

But the coach admits Atkins will have to make adjustments on the fly as an incoming freshman.

“Every time you take a step to the next level, there are going to be adjustments you have to make,” Yust said. “What I like about Titus is he has worked for everything he has gotten. He continues to work and improve. The transition will be difficult, but I think he will do well there.”

After his junior season was axed, Atkins said he is looking forward to next spring as a senior.

“I’m shooting big, but I would like a ship,” Atkins said. “I would like a championship ring. That would be very nice.”

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