BATON ROUGE, La. - Shortstop Austin Nola announced Friday that he will return to LSU for his senior year with the baseball squad. Nola, the 31st round selection of the Toronto Blue Jays in last month's MLB Draft, said he will put his pro career on hold until after the Tigers' 2012 season.
"Coming back for my senior year is just a great opportunity that I couldn't pass up," said Nola, Baton Rouge native. "I've grown up following LSU and having the chance to play baseball and go to school here has been an incredible experience. You enter college with the idea that it's a four-year commitment, and I want to earn my degree and help us get back to Omaha (for the College World Series)."
"Austin Nola epitomizes all that a student-athlete should be," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "He's one of the best shortstops in the country, he leads our community service efforts and he's an outstanding student. We are thrilled that he's decided to return for his senior season because he's a young man of great character that makes our team and our entire program stronger."
Nola, a product of Catholic High School, is a three-year starter at shortstop that helped lead LSU to the 2009 College World Series title. A member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll as a sports administration major, he has played in 169 games for the Tigers and was voted second-team all-SEC in 2010.
Nola was named the MVP of the 2010 SEC Tournament, and he was voted to the 2011 SEC Community Service Team.
By returning to school for his senior year, Nola will also get the opportunity to play alongside his younger brother, Aaron, who will join the LSU program in August as a freshman pitcher. Aaron Nola, the Blue Jays' 22nd-round selection in the June draft, has already announced that he will enroll in school instead of signing a pro contract.