With the 2024 season just weeks away, the Texas Longhorns suffered a significant blow to the lineup with Tuesday’s announcement from Duke Blue Devils transfer first baseman Luke Storm that he’s stepping away from baseball for personal reasons.
My journey playing baseball has come to an end due to personal reasons. It wasn't the path I envisioned, yet I'm profoundly thankful for the individuals it brought into my life. Immense gratitude to the coaches who trusted and believed in me, offering opportunities to live out pic.twitter.com/t0hOEhu5IM— Luke Storm (@LukeStorm24) January 31, 2024
“My journey playing baseball has come to an end due to personal reasons. It wasn’t the path I envisioned, yet I’m profoundly thankful for the individuals it brought into my life. Immense gratitude to the coaches who trusted and believed in me, offering opportunities to live out my dream. Above all, heartfelt thanks to my parents, whose countless sacrifices paved the way for the person I’ve become today,” Storm wrote on Twitter.
“God has a plan, and I’m going to put all my faith into trusting him.”
On Thursday morning, head coach David Pierce addressed the decision by Storm in an appearance on Austin radio.
“We really felt comfortable with Luke Storm coming in. It was very unusual because you don’t have midterm transfers in baseball that are eligible unless they graduate, and Luke graduated in December,” said Pierce. “We fast-forwarded him on some things. It just didn’t work. For personal reasons, he just felt like he wasn’t ready to put his heart and soul back into the game. You have to respect that. It hurts. You know what could have been. But at the same time I like our team, I like our balance, and things we can do there.”
Storm announced his transfer to Texas from Duke last July as one of the final pieces from the NCAA transfer portal for Pierce and his staff.
A 6’5, 240-pounder from Pennsylvania, Storm signed with Duke as the No. 425 player and the No. 85 shortstop, according to Perfect Game. As a redshirt freshman, Storm played in 53 games, starting 47, splitting his time between first base, second base, right field, and designated hitter and slashing .275/.420/.569 with 17 doubles and 10 home runs as well as being hit by 17 pitches. The 17 doubles by Storm led the Blue Devils and his 10 home runs tied for the team lead. In conference play, Storm hit .337/.456/.684. In 2023, Storm slashed .258/.492/.354 with 13 home runs, including three two-home run games.
With the recent track record of the Texas staff is developing hitters with raw power tools like Storm possesses, he projected as one of the home-run leaders on the Longhorns team in 2024.
Now Texas will have to replace him in the lineup at first base, where Storm was expected to be the starter. Sophomore Jared Thomas will move back from the outfield after spending parts of fall practice working in center field, where Pierce now has a variety of options next to left fielder Porter Brown, including Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year Will Gasparino, expected to start in right field before Storm’s decision, freshman Tommy Farmer, sophomore Max Belyeu, redshirt senior Penn transfer Seth Wortham, and junior San Diego and Chabot College transfer Casey Cummings. Other options beyond Thomas at first base include redshirt junior Cam Constantine and freshman Casey Borba.
Texas starts the 2024 season against San Diego at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Feb. 16.