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Friday, August 14, 2009

Shreve torn between baseball and football

Jim Ecker        
Tyler Shreve is a 6-foot-4 right-hander from Highland, Calif., with a strong right arm, but that’s the dilemma. He can throw a baseball 94 miles per hour, but he can also throw a football with good zip. Some colleges like him for baseball, others like him for football.

In a perfect world, he’d like to find a big-time college that would let him throw footballs in the fall and baseballs in the spring.

“I want to play both in college. But if I’m not going to play both, then I’m just going to play football,” he said.

Shreve said he likes the allure and atmosphere of major college football, so if he’s forced to make a decision, he’d pick football. “But if a college allows me to play both, I want to play football and baseball,” he affirmed. “Some of the baseball coaches have been calling me and they’ll let me do that. They’re totally fine with it.”

Most major college football coaches, however, want their quarterbacks to refine their skills and work with the team in spring drills, so finding a big-time football school that would let him play baseball might be harder than finding a big-time baseball program that would let him play football. He’s not sure if football coaches would let him miss spring drills.

“I haven’t talked to the football coaches about that yet,” he said.

He’s torn by the situation, because baseball is his first love. “I definitely like baseball better,” he said.

Shreve is in San Diego this week for the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic at PETCO Park. He’s had a busy summer, juggling football camps and baseball events as he tries to improve in both sports.

“I’ve mixed in a little bit of both,” he said. “I’ve been going to a lot of places for baseball, and I’ve been going to a lot of camps and stuff for football. My schedule is so blown up. I don’t have a weekend off. It’s a hard transition from football to baseball every week.”

One week he’s throwing a football, the next week he’s throwing a baseball, but Shreve said it hasn’t been tough on his arm. “I think it’s made my arm stronger from throwing a football,” he said, “but it’s taking away from my mechanics and my arm release.”

Shreve said he’s attended football camps at USC, UCLA, Oregon and one in Arizona. He threw for 20 touchdowns at Redlands East Valley High School as a sophomore in 2007, then passed for 11 TDs last fall while battling a pair of sprained ankles. Redlands has compiled a 23-3 record the last two years.

Shreve said he’ll huddle with his high school football coach after the first couple of games this season to evaluate his options for college football. “Right now, I have no idea where I’m going to go. At all,” he said.

He’s flattered that he’s being pursued in football and baseball. “It’s an honor just knowing that schools want you to play both sports for them,” he said. “I take it as a compliment.”
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