Every kid wants to dream of playing in the big leagues someday, but that dream is getting close to reality for one Fossil Ridge alum, and it’s still an attainable goal for his younger brother.
Sheldon and Dylan Neuse (pronounced ‘noisy’) are very much alike but in some respects, very different.
Sheldon is a junior at Oklahoma and was just named as a unanimous All-Big 12 selection. It’s his third time to be selected All-Big 12, making him just the third player to be a unanimous pick each year.
Dylan is a junior, too, but at Fossil Ridge.
Both brothers play shortstop, and while Sheldon had experience in moving from the infield to the mound as a reliever, Dylan is working to do the same.
The Brothers Neuse also had previous Panthers football playing time, but both elected to focus solely on baseball.
Sheldon, entering the postseason for the Sooners, leads the Big 12 in slugging percentage at .672, ranks second in hitting at .376 and is fourth in on-base percentage at .464. His 10 home runs and 46 RBI are both tied for third in the league. Neuse has added 15 doubles and five triples; tied for the league lead, according to OU athletic department reports.
As the college season begins to wind down, many speculate Sheldon will be high on the pro draft boards. He was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers out of Fossil Ridge but opted to go to OU and play baseball.
He’s a dual-position player who is having a standout season.
“I see myself more as an infielder,” Sheldon said. “Some wanted me to pitch, some to be a hitter. I’m more proven as a hitter and playing the field.
“I always wanted to play pro baseball as a kid,” he said. “I didn’t want to miss out on getting my degree. But my dream is to play in the pros. But I don’t regret coming here at all.”
That’s much of the reason for Sheldon to step away as the Fossil Ridge quarterback and focus on baseball.
After Dylan decided to leave the football field to stick with the baseball diamond, many commented that he was just doing whatever his brother had done.
“People compare us all the time,” Dylan said. “There are some similarities, but we’re very different players. He’s much bigger and stronger, for one thing,” he said.
Dylan did make one comparison statement with his older brother, though.
“When it comes our speed, I raced him recently and I won by a hair,” Dylan said proudly.
Sheldon said he doesn’t get caught up in the comparisons of his brother.
“I try and stay out of Dylan’s hair,” Sheldon said.
But comparisons are more a result of expectations thrust on the younger brother.
“Meeting expectations is the toughest part,” Dylan said. “When he didn’t play football his senior year and now I’m not going to either, but for different reasons, I heard, ‘You’re just like your brother, then,’” Dylan said. “We do the same things but not quite for the same reasons.”
While Sheldon competes in the Big 12 tournament and likely playoffs, Dylan is playing in the offseason for the same select team his brother played for, also. The Texas Blackhawks were in their first tournament of the summer last weekend.
When the spring rolls back around, Dylan said he should have more pitching duties. He said with the graduation of the Panthers’ top two pitchers, there may be a role for him on the mound, as well as at shortstop.
Dylan said they play baseball with the same mental game but are different physically.
“We both just want to be the best baseball players we can be and be in the MLB,” Dylan said.