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Five College Softball Catchers To Watch This Season

jordyn rudd northwestern athletics.jpg
(Photo by Northwestern Athletics)

Behind every strong team is a sturdy defense, and behind every sturdy defense is a solid catcher. With the 2023 Division I softball season beginning this week, Softball America took a look at five field generals to watch this year in the college game.

See below to learn who we expect to command the diamond in a big way in college softball this spring.

Jordyn Rudd


We could not start this list off without first talking about Jordyn Rudd. As Softball America's reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Rudd is undoubtedly the top catcher to watch for the 2023 season. Her accolades piled up last season, as she took home the Rawlings Gold Glove Award and the Johnny Bench Award, among other honors. Starting all 58 games for Northwestern behind the plate in 2022, Rudd finished with a 1.000 fielding percentage, en route to helping the Wildcats advance to the Women's College World Series. Her offensive game was just as strong, as she posted a .370 batting average last season.

Taylor Tuck

Oklahoma State

For the Cowgirls, Tuck was behind the plate for 25 games in 2022, and one of which was Oklahoma State's Big 12 championship victory over eventual–national champion Oklahoma. Tuck held a .996 fielding percentage, while also having a .275 batting average. Tuck will be able to use her experience to her advantage this spring, as she will use her final year of NCAA eligibility as a graduate student.

Sharlize Palacios


After playing three seasons for the Arizona Wildcats, Palacios will compete in 2023 for the UCLA Bruins. In her career to date, she has started 129 games behind the plate. Aside from catching, her offensive numbers are extremely strong, as she launched 20 home runs in 2022 and posted a .326 batting average. Palacios will join forces with other notable transfers in UCLA's program this spring, including pitcher Brooke Yanez, who transferred from Oregon.

KK Esparza

Ole Miss

After having a strong freshman campaign for the Rebels, KK Esparza is poised for an even better sophomore season. Esparza played 56 games behind the plate in 2022, ending the campaign with a .988 fielding percentage and 300 putouts. She also had 23 hits and 15 RBIs last season. Though she is the youngest student-athlete on our list, Esparza has made a strong case as being one of the top young catchers in Division I softball.

Gianna Boccagno

Arizona State

Gianna Boccagno will play her first and only season as a Sun Devil in 2023 after she competed for four years at Boston College. Boccagno handled much of the catching duties for the Eagles in her career, starting 136 games behind the plate. This transfer will strengthen an already tough Arizona State defense, and could help to fill a spot behind the plate for the Sun Devils this spring.

Cami Henry Photo by Griffin Quinn_Northwestern Athletics.jpg

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