Iowa pitcher Brody Brecht discusses his decision to stick with baseball

The hard-throwing righty spoke to the media on March 31 after announcing his decision on March 24.


Grace Smith

Iowa pitcher Brody Brecht throws a pitch during the second baseball game of a doubleheader between Iowa and Illinois at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Brecht struck out two Illini in one inning. The Fighting Illini defeated the Hawkeyes in 13 innings, 7-5.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

“It was probably the toughest decision I have ever had to make up to this point in my life.”

Those were the first words from Iowa sophomore pitcher Brody Brecht following his first start after officially announcing he was leaving football to pursue a baseball career full time.

Brecht announced his decision to leave the Iowa football program on March 24 and spoke to the media after his five innings of work in Iowa’s 10-9 loss to Maryland on March 31.

During his recruitment process, Brecht made it clear he was willing to try both baseball and football as a Hawkeye. For the first two years of his college career, he did just that.

Brecht was a three-star football recruit coming out of Ankeny High School, with offers from Iowa, Iowa State, and Kansas State. Brecht tallied 42 receptions for 599 yards and 12 touchdowns his senior year, leading the Ankeny Hawks to a state championship in the process.

But Brecht struggled with injuries during his freshman football season in Iowa City and didn’t see any game action.

As a sophomore this season in between the hash marks, Brecht made nine catches for 87 yards per catch and averaged 9.6 yards per catch.

Unlike in football, injuries haven’t slowed Brecht down on the mound.

Following a season out of the bullpen for head coach Rick Heller’s squad – which earned him freshman All-American status – the hard-throwing righty has become one of the best pitchers in the conference as a sophomore.

Now in the Friday night starter role, Brecht is 2-1 this season with 59 strikeouts in 33 innings. His 2.67 ERA is good for seventh among Big Ten starters.

Brecht was the No. 77 available prospect for the MLB Draft out of high school and is now slated as the No. 18 prospect, according to Prospects Live.

Brecht isn’t eligible for the MLB Draft until 2024, however, as college athletes need to be three years removed from their high school graduation.

While it was difficult to quit football, Brecht knew it was best for his future.

“It’s tough for sure,” Brecht said. “It’s a sport I have loved since I was five. It hurts stepping away, but my desire to be great at baseball and my love for the game has continued to grow each day. I truly believe that’s what God wants me to do.”

While the official announcement came recently, Brecht had pondered the idea for weeks, talking to people close to him to make the best decision for his future.

“I think last week I finally had my mind made up,” Brecht said. “There was just a lot of praying about it. You know just talking to family and friends and I feel like it is the best decision for me and my future.”

During this process, Brecht has gotten full support from his team. Both the coaches and players were behind what he chose to do moving forward.

“We are going to respect any decision he has,” sophomore Keaton Anthony said. “Just whatever he wants to do, whatever he loves. I know he loves baseball and being around us. That’s something that I’m sure played into his decision. We are always going to be here for him. If he chose football, too, we would have still been here for him.”