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Notre Dame Baseball

Notre Dame RHP Signee Roman Kimball: 'This recruiting class is really special'

May 27, 2021

Roman Kimball has never turned down a challenge. 

The right-handed pitcher didn't shy away from ACC competition and committed to Notre Dame over Boston College and Virginia Tech in 2018. 

COVID also didn't slow Kimball down as he made a life decision to transfer from New Hartford (N.Y.) to play his senior year at P27 Academy in South Carolina. 

"At first, it was a little rough, odd and just a different feeling being away from home," Kimball told ISD. "It was like a two-week adjustment period and then it was like home. You get acclimated with everyone and then you're with everybody every day. You get into the schedule and it's pretty regimented." 

What is P27 Academy?

It's essentially the IMG Academy for baseball prospects. Student-athletes enroll in a virtual charter school and the focus is preparing students for college with a professional baseball program that does the same. 

And yes, the P27 stands for Proverbs 27:17.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."

"I feel it definitely helped me prepare for college," explained Kimball. "Living on my own, cooking by myself, doing my own laundry, cleaning dishes - it prepared me for college and pro-life." 

Outside of academics and learning to be on his own, Kimball wanted to improve his game, which he did. 

"I feel I improved as an all-around player by being down there," stated Kimball. "I gained around 25 pounds of muscle, so I definitely got stronger, which is good for my durability. Being a small kid, I needed to get the weight up and hopefully, I gained a little bit more velocity with the weight gain. 

"It just prepared me to stay healthy and keeping myself out of injuries because I'm a little more thick."

The competition was also a step up and Kimball noticed it last week when he was back home at a New Hartford game. 

"All the teams we played had like five or more Division I commits,” Kimball said. “The competition we were facing was really, really good. It definitely helped me prepare for college." 

Kimball's fastball normally sits around 92-94 mph, but he can also climb to 95-96. The highest he hit in 2021 was 97. 

You can actually watch Kimball's development at P27 Academy as he started Vlog on YouTube. 

Roman Kimball Vlog Series

The New York native documented his daily life to take fans through his time in South Carolina, which also serves as a great way to build a brand as we’ve seen with Trevor Bauer, who is someone Kimball looks up to.

"It was an idea I had driving down to school this year," said Kimball. "I wondered if people would actually want to see what we were doing at school. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because most people have school like six hours a day and have practice for two hours. Ours was kind of like the reverse of that, so I put the idea out on Instagram to see if people would want to see it and a bunch of people did."

The Vlog not only gave Kimball a chance to take people inside his life and build a brand, but it also was another challenge as he had to learn how to film and edit. 

"At first, I wasn't even editing my own videos,” said Kimball. “I had a friend who did it for me, but then after a bit, I wanted to take things all onto myself. I wanted to do things a certain way, so I learned how to edit and how to film correctly. 

"I just got a new camera, which is super helpful because the quality is a lot better than what my phone is."

Will the Vlog continue at Notre Dame? Kimball hopes so as it can be a great tool to give even more exposure to the ACC Atlantic champs. 

"I haven't talked to them about it yet," Kimball said. "I think it's a great opportunity for Notre Dame baseball fans to engage with the team a little bit more. It could kind of just promote the program to younger kids and get them interested in going there." 

Committing to Notre Dame was an easy decision for Kimball and Irish pitching coach Chuck Ristano played a significant role in his recruitment. 

Yes, Kimball actually committed to Mik Aoki, but he was quickly sold on Link Jarrett after meeting him on a visit. 

"I went on a visit before COVID and I got the chance to sit down with Coach Jarrett and we talked about what the future was going to look like as it was during his first few months as head coach. 

"He has a really good grasp on the program and what he wants to do with the program. I think it's going in the right direction and obviously, it has this year. I believe they have a chance to win it all this year if they play really well and continue to play like they've been playing."

Notre Dame fans were likely surprised by Jarrett's immediate success, but Kimball wasn't. 

"I kind of knew the program was going to take a really good turn after my visit with him," explained Kimball. "The way he held himself and the way he talked about everything, he knew what he was doing. 

"I know last season got cut short, but I really think they would have been in kind of the same scenario as what's going on right now. Coach Jarrett is a really, really good hitting coach and we've seen that this year. That's what he's known for. The pitching is good, but it's not overpowering like you see with Vanderbilt - but they just hit. They're averaging like seven to nine runs a game. You can't beat a team that's putting up seven to nine runs a game."

Irish Sports Daily
RHP Roman Kimball

Kimball's excitement to get life started at Notre Dame is evident, but he'll have a decision as he's also a pro prospect. 

He's been invited to the MLB Draft Combine in June and will delay his enrollment to Notre Dame to go through the draft process. 

"The draft is a big lifetime decision," Kimball stated. "There isn't one wrong decision either way. I'm going to go to one of the best colleges in the world, or I'm going to get a paycheck and reach my overall dream, which is to play professional baseball." 

For Kimball, it's a situation where there will be many positives to each decision and it will come down to which is the right one at the end of the day. 

Most projections have Kimball being drafted, so his decision could very well come down to where he's drafted. 

"It all depends on how the summer goes and how much money is involved along with what my family and I  feel is the best for my future. There are many different factors that will go into it, but I'm going to make the best decision for myself.”

Either way, Kimball is going to be happy and he has developed a strong bond with Notre Dame's first Top 25 recruiting class. 

"Our recruiting class is really, really strong," explained Kimball. "I've developed a really good relationship with everybody. There's always somebody talking in the group chat.

"This recruiting class is really special. It's honestly one of Notre Dame's best. I'm looking forward to what we do together on the field and that's hopefully winning a College World Series.”

The 2021 signees have also had the chance to develop relationships in person at various events around the country and even competed against each other. 

"We've got an outfielder, David Jefferson. He's really fast and runs like a 6.3 60. He'll be a power bat from the left side and really good on defense. 

"Then you have catcher, Joey Spence. He's really solid behind the dish and can swing. He could be in a Niko Kavadas situation within the next two or three years. He'll have a lot of home runs. 

"We have another left-handed arm in Jack Findlay. I think he's at like 91-91 and touches 92. Really good command and good breaking stuff. Out of the class, I'd say those three guys are people to watch out for in the future." 

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Notre Dame RHP Signee Roman Kimball: 'This recruiting class is really special'

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