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Football, baseball or both, and where?
Written by News Desk   
Friday, 07 February 2014 15:37

02-06taylorhawEdgewood’s Taylor Hawthorne (pictured) will make some big decisions in the next week.

File Photo

By ART PARKER

When you shake hands with Edgewood senior Taylor Hawthorne you may think his hand is twice as big as yours. His adult size handshake will soon be accompanied by adult decisions, and some tough ones.

For the last four years Hawthorne has been at the center of four football state championships and three baseball state championships for Edgewood. If everything goes the way it should, his Wildcats will win another baseball title this year.

Hawthorne's athletic prowess has caused many heads to turn his way. As a shortstop he has good range, inhales ground balls, and throws bullets to first base. He bats left handed when at the plate and does so successfully. On the football field he uses those huge hands and rifle arm to throw passes 60 yards, flat footed, passes that spin in beautiful rotation but hang in the air and fall as soft as a marshmallow.

Several schools, including a few of the Division One variety, have been after Hawthorne for football or baseball. For a brief spell at the end of football season, it looked like he would stay on the gridiron. Then he decided to play baseball, and that was that.

Then Edgewood coach Bobby Carr got a call from Brigham Young University (BYU), the school some call "Quarterback U" for all of the great signal callers it has produced. BYU wanted to visit Hawthorne even though he said he wanted to play baseball. "I sent film to several schools that may have quarterback needs and schools where Taylor may fit. I knew he would be appealing to some bigger schools out there and they came calling late. Sometimes it happens that way because some schools have a change in needs once the season is over. I'm happy to see the interest in him," Carr said.

A week ago Saturday the quarterback coach for BYU came to Edgewood Academy to meet Hawthorne and have him throw some passes. "I was nervous at first and then I settled down. I could tell that he liked what he saw," Hawthorne said. "I went home after throwing for the coach and my interest in football elevated again. Then, the phone rang. Again. All of this came out of nowhere."

This time it was Vanderbilt calling and the Commodores let Hawthorne know they were on his trail. Within 72 hours Hawthorne had gone from baseball to having a renewed interest in football with multiple Division One schools after him. So how does that make an 18 year old star feel?

"Stressed," Hawthorne said. "Really stressed out."

Hawthorne's baseball prospects are very much alive at the college level and he could even be drafted high enough in baseball's amateur draft in June to really add to the stress of the decision making process. Hawthorne knows he will probably be forced to choose one sport over the other and that is what he doesn't really want to do. "I would really love to play both in college. I told BYU that and they responded positively, but as of this moment I don't know if that will work. Really, I can't begin to tell you what I will do," Hawthorne said. As the red headed senior gazed onto the baseball field watching teammates throw and get ready for practice he said, "I know I've worked hard here at Edgewood, and this school has given me great opportunities. It sure has been fun having the success we've had. In some ways it is hard to believe that some big school far away would have an interest in someone from a little private school in little Elmore, Alabama."

Carr believes Hawthorne will make the right decision for his future, but the coach is quietly hoping he heads west. "It's his decision. He has to decide what sport, or both and where. It's a tough call, but I did tell him that I thought BYU wanted him really bad and that at BYU the sky was the limit. Of course the bottom line is I want Taylor to do what is best for Taylor," Carr said.

When asked what advice he would have for others in the future when they were faced with similar circumstances Hawthorne said, "Listen to all the advice you can. Think about it and pray about it. Then realize that you got to pull the trigger and make a decision to do the best thing for yourself." And, after gazing at the baseball field for another moment Hawthorne added, with a smile, "And...I guess that's what I've got to do."

 
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