There was nothing to suggest the success Nicholls designated hitter Brayden Jobert enjoyed in his abbreviated 18-game freshman season this past spring would lead to a transfer.
But underneath the surface, even being named a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America after leading or tying for the team lead in six offensive categories, couldn’t quell the Slidell native’s desire to be closer to home.
His plan to transfer fell into place as the NCAA restored a year of eligibility because of the coronavirus pandemic wiping out most of the season. He committed to LSU for the Class of 2022, but will first play for Delgado Community College in New Orleans in the 2021 season.
“The waiver process didn’t work out, so I wouldn’t have been (immediately) eligible (at LSU),” Jobert said. “I was over the moon (when LSU offered) because that’s what I’ve been dreaming for since I was a little kid. When they offered, I committed because there was no question that I was going there.”
Jobert’s decision to eventually attend LSU came five months after tormenting the Tigers in the biggest highlight of his young college career.
With Nicholls hosting then No. 11 LSU, it was Jobert who helped the Colonels orchestrate a 4-2 upset victory on Feb. 19.
Jobert went 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs, singling in a run in the first inning and adding a lead-off homer in the seventh for a 4-1 advantage.
“It was an awesome experience playing against them,” Jobert said. “Having the dream my whole life of playing for them and to end up playing against them, and doing what I did, it was really cool to feel that. I was very blessed to do that against them. I think it had a big part of standing where I’m standing today.”
Jobert had visions of playing in the SEC when he committed to Alabama during his sophomore year at Northshore High School where he wound being ranked the state’s No. 23 prospect as a senior by Perfect Game.
However, first-year coach Greg Goff was fired by the Crimson Tide following a 19-34-1 overall record including a 5-24-1 SEC showing.
That led to Jobert’s de-commitment from Alabama, reopening his recruiting process which included Nicholls, Southeastern, East Carolina and Tulane. He committed to the Colonels in October of 2018.
“I tried to weigh all of my options and had chances to go to Delgado and Jones (Miss.),” Jobert said. “Having my dad play at Nicholls was a very big part of it. It felt like home for me at the time and I committed.”
But that feeling changed, despite his on-the-field success at Nicholls, batting .365 with three homers and 11 RBIs as well leading the team in hits (23), on-base percentage (.459) and tied in runs scored (11). He had five multi-hit games and had a team-high 13-game hitting streak.
“When I got there, I didn’t feel like that was the place for me anymore and ended up leaving,” Jobert said of Nicholls. “And then there was the situation with my grandmother.”
Jobert’s beloved grandmother Edie Jobert lost a 22-year battle with cancer on June 14. That contributed in part to him wanting to continue his career closer to home.
“She did whatever she could to show up to my games,” Jobert said. “She was fighting through so much pain for 22 years. She still showed up and still cheered me on as much as she could. Since the first game of my sophomore year I started drawing a ‘G’ in the dirt before every single at bat. The first time I did it I hit a home run. I knew from that point on I was playing for her. I know she’s watching over me and making sure I’m doing the right things.”
The transfer to Delgado seemed a logical step for Jobert, and not just because he would have had to sit out the 2021 season because of NCAA redshirt rules if he transferred directly to LSU.
Not only did Jobert’s father, Jacques, play at Delgado before going onto Nicholls, Jobert had also played in the summer for Dolphins’ longtime coach Joe Scheuermann, forging an instant relationship that he sought to rekindle.
“After the season ended it gave me a lot of time to think about what I was going to do,” said the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Jobert, a left-handed hitter. “My grandmother had been battling cancer for 22 years. It was getting real bad. I’m extremely close with my family and I wanted to be closer to home.
“I think overall leaving Nicholls and going to Delgado was what was best for me at the time and I still think it is.”
Jobert, who is playing this summer with the Sanford River Rats in the Florida Collegiate Summer League, believes his experience at Delgado will prove immeasurable. He expects to play a corner infield position after serving strictly as a designated hitter at Nicholls.
“I will learn an unbelievable amount of baseball from coach Joe,” he said. “My game will definitely get better overall. It’s another year to get stronger, improve my knowledge of the game. I think I’ll be an even better player than I was at Nicholls.”
The bigger picture, though, is Jobert had his eventual sights set on LSU where he always dreamed of playing.
With help from LSU hitting coach Eddie Smith, Jobert was able to grab a roster spot with the Sanford River Rats of the 10-team Florida Collegiate Summer League which began play June 27.
Jobert said upon his July 7th arrival to begin play in the league, he looked like someone who hadn’t seen live pitching in 3 ½ months. He’s gradually adjusted and with 17 games left in the regular season, embraces the opportunity once again to play the game that was taken away in mid-March after his college career had gotten off to such a positive start.
“Coming in and seeing 95 (miles per hour) for the first time was tough,” Jobert said. “Baseball’s a tough sport, especially when you take a break from it and you don’t see pitching for a while. The competition is great. Nothing feels better. It sucked to get cut short so early, especially with the season I was having. I was missing it so much. I’m happy that we’re back playing.”