Jacob Benefield is now focusing on the 2013 high school baseball season after signing Wednesday with the University of West Florida.

Benefield will need to focus as he will be filling the void in the Patriots infield left by Addison Russell, who was drafted No. 11 by the Oakland Athletics just days after graduating from Pace High School.

"This feels good," Benefield said. "It takes a lot of pressure off of me.

"If you wait to sign after the season you have to watch it and never know what might happen during the season which could effect your opportunities."

While Benefield is now focusing on his senior year it is not hard to understand why Jacob drew a great deal of interest from schools like UWF, who is two season removed from winning the Division II NCAA National Title.

Both of Jacob's parents played ball at UWF.

Donnie played on a baseball scholarship, while his mother, Renee Groves, played on the softball team and was a member of the first fast pitch softball team at Pace High School.

"I am following the family footsteps by choosing UWF," Benefield said. "I got a lot of the baseball smarts from my dad, but when it comes to my speed I think I got that from my mom."

While Benefield is a couple of months away from the start of his senior season, he is realistic on what is expected of him.

"With Addison and (Patrick) Ervin gone I feel I will need to step up and be more of a leader on the field," Benefield said. "We lost a great deal of experience with their graduation.

"I am looking forward to stepping up to face the challenge and doing the best I can this season to help the Patriots."

With Jacob's signing it marks the second time this year the family has celebrated baseball success as older brother Clay signed to play at Wallace Community College in Dothan, Ala.

"I learned some things watching my brother," Jacob said. "But I got most of my help and my advice from my Dad.

"He was a big help to me in talking about what was going on."

The Argos' interest in Benefield seemed to really pick up when they saw the shortstop pick up a bat during a camp on the Argos' campus.

"I went to a hitting camp and after that they started showing some interest," Benefield said. "After we talked I went to the campus and met with the coaches."