Jahni Kerr Is Ready To Run College Softball's Race
Jahni Kerr was only six years old when she realized she was pretty quick on her feet, at least compared to all her other teammates.
“A lot of the time, I was honestly just running circles around a lot of the competition,” Kerr said in a Zoom interview with Softball America.
Kerr's speed continued to develop throughout her high school days at Wesleyan School in the Atlanta area, where she set a program record for stolen bases with 130. On top of that, she also left Wesleyan as the school's all-time leader in batting average, hits, triples, runs scored, slugging and home runs.
In addition to setting those program records, Kerr received other accolades during her high school playing days, including being named the Player of the Year twice by the Gwinnett Daily Post, a USA Today All-American, the USA Today 2020 Atlanta High School Sports Player of the Year and a two-time state champion.
While all of that attention could seem stressful for a high schooler to deal with, Kerr took it in stride and found that it actually wasn’t that stressful for her to experience at all.
“Getting to play with some of my travel teammates and getting to meet new people at Wesleyan, it made it really easy to just enjoy the game and have fun with it. Nothing ever really felt stressful during any season,” Kerr said.
She begins her collegiate career this weekend with Florida State as the No. 18 player in Softball America’s 2021 Top 25 College Freshmen ranking. Kerr joins a team well known for its stolen-base potential, which is a good fit for Kerr considering her past successes in that department. In the shortened 2020 season alone, the Seminoles were 41-for-47 in stolen base attempts, with seven players perfect in all their attempts.
With her 22 career home runs at Wesleyan, she also adds some pop to a Seminole squad that is synonymous with the long ball, something the team trademarked in 2019 especially with over 100 bombs.
Overall, it did not take long for Kerr to feel at home in Tallahassee.
“You can feel the environment surrounding the program and the community that Florida State embodies and carries out—the family aspect and the homey feel,” Kerr added.
Florida State enters the 2021 college softball season three years removed from its national title and epic championship series in Oklahoma City against Washington. The roster, however, still has plenty of remnants from the program's magical 2018 season—five players, in fact. One of those players is Dani Morgan, a redshirt senior, who, like Kerr, is a Georgia native. According to Kerr, Morgan was one of the players who helped her acclimate to college life.
“As far as learning goes with my position, Dani Morgan was pretty easy to talk to,” Kerr said. Both she and Morgan play in the outfield.
Florida State players like Morgan, Sydney Sherrill, Anna Shelnutt, Elizabeth Mason and others who have seen and conquered the postseason set great examples for the young Kerr to follow.
“It’s almost a weird feeling,” Kerr said. “You get to see all these people do this really cool stuff. You meet them in person and they’re just like chill as can be, the most normal people ever.”