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Jackson Rutledge certainly made the most of his one season at San Jacinto College.

After beginning his college career at Arkansas, Rutledge transferred to San Jac — a move that paid off earlier this month when he was drafted 17th overall by the Washington Nationals. The righthander from St. Louis was further recognized this week for his impressive sophomore campaign, being named the 2019 Spalding NJCAA DI Baseball Pitcher of the Year.

“My experiences this past year at San Jac have had a major positive impact on my life, both on and off the field,” Rutledge said. “I learned what it’s like to truly be driven to get better and succeed. ... If I had not made the choice to transfer to San Jac, I wouldn’t be the same person I am, and wouldn’t have had the success that I’ve had. My year at San Jac is one that will be marked as a turning point in my early career that I’ll never forget.”

Rutledge posted a 9-1 record on the mound, ranked second in the nation with 134 strikeouts and topped all NJCAA Division I qualifiers with a 0.87 ERA.

His head coach at San Jac, Tom Arrington, knew he had a special talent early on.

"On the day I saw Jackson throw his first bullpen of the year, I knew that he possessed the ability to be an MLB pitcher — and as time went on throughout the season, it was apparent that he possessed so much more than that,” Arrington added. “Jackson's work ethic, professionalism and selfless attitude towards the game, the coaches and his teammates is what sets him apart … Jackson is a player that makes those around him better players and better people.”