Alex Santana's first impression of his first official college recruiting visit nearly a year ago turned out to be his top choice in the end. The Mariner High School senior signed a baseball scholarship letter-of-intent Monday to attend Florida Atlantic University.
"I had my choice of Miami, UCF and Ole Miss, but FAU was one of the closest to home," Santana said. "It was more welcoming when I was there and less pressure. It just felt right."
Alex's older brother, Audry, was chosen by the Chicago White Sox in the June Major League Baseball Free Agent Draft, but decided instead to enroll at Eckerd College.
Mariner senior Alex Santana signs a baseball scholarship letter-of-intent with Florida Atlantic on Monday. At his side are parents Gloria and Raphael Santana. Observing at far left is Mariner baseball coach Steve Larsen with Mariner principal Brian Mangan, athletic director Vito Mennona and baseball coach Tom Woodley standing behind from left.
"The two of them are very close and they talk a lot," said the boys' father, Rafael Santana, a former professional baseball player. "I am very proud of (Alex). His hard work and dedication has paid off. It is quite an accomplishment."
Alex, an infielder and pitcher, said he was impressed with the FAU campus and the surrounding area of Boca Raton as well as the character of the coaching staff which weighed in on his decision. While the scholarship is athletic, Alex has yet to decide on his academic pursuit.
"Those two kids are both academically oriented as well as athletically talented," said Mariner coach Steve Larsen. "It just goes to show that they have put in a lot of hard work in the classroom because to get into those schools is not easy."
Alex and Audry were part of the Tritons' back-to-back district baseball championships, including last spring's 26-5 regional finalist squad.
Alex batted .386 with four home runs and 32 RBI last season.