Photo submitted by Julian DeLeon
Julian DeLeon joins Richland College
Julian DeLeon was nowhere to be found.
Practice began early in the morning. DeLeon was always there. Always.
San Marcos head coach Bryan Webb called him 10 times. No answer. The coach might have been frustrated with the player had it been someone else. But this was Julian DeLeon, so Webb started to worry instead.
A few hours later, DeLeon finally called back.
“Coach, I overslept,” DeLeon told Webb.
“That’s all I needed to hear,” Webb replied.
In four years of playing for the Rattlers, this was DeLeon’s only missed practice. Webb figured he deserved a pass.
“He was accountable, he had good integrity, he was raised the right way, he’s got good parents,” Webb said. “(I) never really had to worry about him off the field. Never had to worry about his grades. He’s a quality kid.”
Now, Webb knows he doesn’t have to worry about DeLeon after high school, either. On May 8, DeLeon signed a letter of intent to play for the Richland College Thunderducks in Dallas.
“That was a goal of mine ever since I first started playing baseball,” DeLeon said. “I knew I’ve always wanted to compete at the next level, wherever I’m at. I set my standards high and I plan to achieve all my goals that I have. And college baseball was the next goal of mine.”
DeLeon started in tee ball at three years old. He grew up playing with Webb’s sons, Gunner and Kannon, in little league. Already having an established relationship with his coach coming into his freshman year helped DeLeon put more trust in Webb, which led to him developing quicker as a player. DeLeon moved up to the varsity roster his sophomore year.
He doesn’t just do what he needs to do. He looks good doing it, too.
“He likes to play pretty boy all the time. All four years, he’s always been pretty boy,” said senior Ruben Miranda, DeLeon’s teammate. “His style, he always likes to present himself as a good-looking guy. He looks flashy everyday.”
The senior usually slicks back his hair and rocks all kinds of jewelry — earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. Webb appreciated that he didn’t let it affect his play.
“He didn’t play pretty. He played hard,” Webb said. “There wasn’t ever a hair out of place, whether we were on the field or off the field. So, he’s always GQ’d up everyday, looked sharp — even on the field, he looked sharp.”
DeLeon’s career has been full of sharp plays.
In a playoff series with Klein on May 12, 2018, the Bearkats hit a single with a runner on second base. The throw to first base was too strong. But DeLeon, playing right field, was there to back it up. Without hesitation, he threw the ball home in time to tag out the lead runner and keep Klein off the scoreboard.
Plays like that helped DeLeon get noticed, especially by college coaches. He visited Richland this past fall and liked the big-city vibe of Dallas. He also felt he’d have a pretty good chance at getting playing time, either as an outfielder, a pitcher or both.
The senior made his commitment official May 8 inside the San Marcos Student Activity Center.
“I’ve known nothing else besides baseball,” DeLeon said. “So, this is what I’ve been training for. This high school chapter’s closed, but this college chapter is going to open up for me. So, it’s a new beginning for me and I’m just excited. Basically, this is all I was looking forward to ever since I was three.”
“I feel like he’s going to be a great outfielder,” Miranda said. “He’s tall, he’s got the speed, he’s going to be a great asset at Richland.”
Miranda said he’ll miss seeing the outfits his teammate comes up with. Webb will miss having someone he could rely on as much as DeLeon.
DeLeon said there’s plenty of things left on his bucket list. He plans to major in psychology and minor in criminal justice. He wants to continue playing baseball after his two years at Richland are up.
When it comes time to cross them off, he’ll do it in style.