By Maurice Patton
D’Naijah Wade’s best may be yet to come.
The Spring Hill senior announced Thursday she will sign a college softball scholarship with Alabama A&M, after considering scholarship offers from Tennessee State, Grambling and Jackson State as well as Freed-Hardeman and Bryan College.
“It took me a bit,” Wade said regarding her selection process. “I wanted to explore my options a little more, do more research on the schools that were interested in me. I felt like Alabama A&M was a fit for me. I felt like they met my requirements, my educational requirements.
“I wanted someplace close to home, a nice-sized school. And they have want I wanted to major in – kinesiology.”
Veteran Lady Raiders coach Gary Caperton thinks Wade, who played summer ball with the Nashville Cruisers, could step onto the Huntsville campus and challenge for playing time quickly with the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC) program.
“D’Naijah has all the skills and ability to be a top-notch player,” Caperton said. “She’s tall, she’s fast as can be, she’s coachable. She’s the total package. You just have to tweak a few things, ‘shine’ her up a little. She still hasn’t reached her potential. She’s a great player, a likeable player, very team-oriented. I just hope she keeps her drive because I think she’s got even more to show.”
In a junior season that was limited by the global pandemic to just five games, Wade hit .571 with four stolen bases and two extra-base hits.
“She is definitely a great defensive outfielder,” Caperton said. “She tracks balls unbelievably. She has an arm you rarely get to see because she can get back on balls, but she can stand at our fence at 225 feet and get it to the plate, and not even look like she’s trying. And she doesn’t mind laying out.
“Offensively, she needs to be slapping. She’s a threat coming out of the box right-handed; imagine turning her around.”