AUSTIN, Texas — Texas second baseman Janae Jefferson, utility player Mary Iakopo and pitcher Shea O’Leary are among 50 players named Wednesday to the 2021 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List.
The list announced Wednesday by USA Softball included six players from UCLA, four from Alabama and four from Washington. Joining Texas with three players on the listwere Arizona, Mississippi State and Oklahoma.
Nominations are submitted through the programs’ sports information directors.
Jefferson led the Big 12 during the abbreviated 2020 season in hitting (.554 — third in NCAA Div. I), hits (41 — fourth in Div. I) and on-base percentage (.607 — third in NCAA). She boasts the best career batting average (.425) in school history, well ahead of the .385 mark posted by former Longhorn Lexy Bennett, who played from 2009-12.
The everyday Texas third baseman last season, Iakopo led the Longhorns with 25 runs batted in while batting .361 with 26 hits, five doubles and four home runs. She notched multiple RBI in a team-high seven games, and had two or more hits in nine games last season.
O'Leary posted a 6-0 record with a 1.97 earned run average over 10 starts with four complete games, three solo shutouts (20th in NCAA Div. I) and allowed opponents to hit just .216 against her.
Texas and UCLA are the only programs in the nation with players who have won the award, now in its 19th year, three times. Former UT pitcher Cat Osterman won the award in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
The top 25 finalists for the 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 21. The top 10 finalists will be announced May 5 and the top three announced May 19. The 2021 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed June 1.