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McNabb Report: Can Dual-Sport Recruits Succeed?
May 17, 2012By Tim Polzer of VYPE MAGAZINE - Fort Worth
By David McNabb
Colleyville Heritage’s Cody Thomas and Southlake Carroll’s Kenny Hill are two of the state’s top players in two sports. They’d both like to continue playing football and baseball in college and each likely will have the chance at major schools. The chances of success at playing two sports are slim.
The dual-sport athlete is rare, the college quarterback/baseball player is more rare. John Elway tried it. Todd Helton tried it. Drew Henson tried it. That’s pretty strong company, but eventually the demands of being a college quarterback during the spring was too much of a scheduling conflict.
Hill has committed to Texas A&M for the Class of 2013. Hill has been Carroll’s starting quarterback since midway through his junior year. He’s considered one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. He led Carroll to the Class 5A Division I state title last season.
Hill, the son of former Texas Rangers pitcher Ken Hill, has also led Carroll baseball back to the state playoffs. In what is virtually Hill’s first full varsity baseball season, he’s one of the state’s top-right-handed power hitters as a third baseman. A&M football coach Kevin Sumlin made Hill his No. 1 recruiting priority when he was named coach in January. A&M baseball coach Rob Childress also aggressively recruited Hill.
Thomas has a huge interest in continuing to play baseball and football. (Update: Gerrry Hamilton of 247Sports.com is reporting that Thomas has committed to play football at Oklahoma.) It remains to be seen which colleges offer the best opportunity to do both. Thomas received an offer from Oklahoma the second week of May but the Sooners football coaches aren’t as keen on their future quarterback playing baseball fulltime in the spring. The Sooners are thinking about Thomas missing some baseball games in order to make all the football practices. The 6-4 Thomas is a terrific quarterback prospect with a strong arm and mobility. He’s a great, left-handed hitting, right-handed throwing right fielder for Heritage. Thomas is a plus-hitter, not just a power hitter. He smashed a coupled of home runs to right against Plano East in the playoffs. When East moved its fielders to play a left-handed shift, Thomas simply started slicing shots to left. East wouldn’t throw Thomas a fastball. East eventually resorted to walking Thomas.
Quarterbacks who also play baseball face long odds but the storylines usually stay interesting. Helton was once a high-powered quarterback recruit at Tennessee. He decided to concentrate on baseball when another talented quarterback named Peyton Manning showed up. Helton now plays first base for the Rockies in Denver, whose NFL Broncos just signed Helton’s good friend Manning to be their quarterback.
What will Wilson do?
DeSoto running back Dontre Wilson is one of the top remaining uncommitted players and the speedy running back is expected to commit on May 25. It’s reportedly down to Oregon and Texas, but as VYPE reported in March, Wilson has made remarks to several track officials at some of the state’s top track meets that he was going to Oregon. Wilson remains officially uncommitted.
Wilson was part of DeSoto’s state championship track team and was on the championship 4 X 100-meter relay team that ran a 40.09 at the state meet in Austin.
Class of ’14 to Watch: Lancaster’s Harvey
Lancaster defensive back Nick Harvey burst onto the scene as a freshman and he’s now getting a lot of recruiting interest as a top prospect for the Class of ’14. Harvey, known to wear an Oklahoma shirt pretty regularly to school, visited Texas’ spring game in April. He also visited Texas A&M and has picked up offers from Texas Tech, Baylor and Arkansas among others. He’s a speedy, 5-10, 170-pounder who is a terrific athlete as a defensive back, receiver and even plays some quarterback for the Tigers. Harvey has a knack for play-making and explosiveness. But, as a prospect, he fits into the same category as LSU’s Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu in that Harvey makes plays at safety, but can be a little undersized for the contact and, at cornerback, his play-making ability can be nullified by schemes.
Texas already has a 2013 commit from Lancaster defensive end Daeshon Hall and there’s growing interest in Lancaster’s Class of ’13 athlete Demarcus Ayers (5-10, 165), who transferred from Terrell to play at Lancaster last season and was used similarly to Harvey and showed the same big-play, break-away speed.