Willeford signs to play baseball at University of Arizona

With Coach Dean Welch seated next to him, Ramona High senior Jackson Willeford is surrounded by his parents, Debbie and Guy Willeford, and his grandfather, Jack Kunce, as he signs a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Arizona. Sentinel photo/Bill Tamburrino
With Coach Dean Welch seated next to him, Ramona High senior Jackson Willeford is surrounded by his parents, Debbie and Guy Willeford, and his grandfather, Jack Kunce, as he signs a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Arizona. Sentinel photo/Bill Tamburrino

By Bill Tamburrino

Ramona High School senior Jackson Willeford has signed a National Letter of Intent to play collegiate baseball at the University of Arizona.

Willeford signed in the early signing period. He was recruited by several other elite baseball programs but chose to attend the U of A in Tucson.

Willeford will be entering his fourth season on the Bulldog varsity baseball team in the spring. He started at second base as a freshman and has been the shortstop the past two seasons.

Named to the all league squad three times, he was selected All North County last season. He is a year-round baseball player who plays for the Encinitas Gamers in the off season.

“I also played for the Bulldog summer league teams for Coach Roy Sulser and he taught me a lot,” stated Willeford.

Willeford plans to major in psychology while playing for the Wildcats and hopes to be a counselor when he completes his playing days.

Baseball has been a family affair for the Willeford family.

“I started playing when I was about 4,” he said. “I would attend my big brothers’ practices and games and shag balls and be a nuisance.”

“He certainly was,” commented his grandfather, Jack Kunce, with a smile.

Willeford’s brothers Guy and Alex “Smiley” played at Ramona High School and went on to play in college. Guy played at Palomar and San Diego State, and Smiley at Palomar.

All three brothers swing the bat from the left side of the plate. Sister Emma is a cheerleader.

Mom and Dad, Debbie and Guy, have been very supportive as have his grandparents, Jack and Barbara Kunce. Whenever a Willeford plays, there is a guaranteed crowd. So when the Wildcats play USC, UCLA or a local university, the Willeford clan will be on hand.

When asked why he chose Arizona, Jackson explained, “It was a good fit. I got a great offer and I have a good shot at competing for playing time.”

   
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