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May 1, 2013

Thompson has summer decision to make














It's getting close to that time.

Two-sport star David Thompson's baseball season is winding down, and he knows what lies ahead: Football.

Thompson says he was "a little" surprised he was listed on the post-spring two-deep on special teams despite never practicing a down of football.

But Thompson, who held all four years of high school, also says "I knew I was most likely going to be the holder next year."

What's not so certain: What he'll do this summer.

Coach Jim Morris wants him to play in a summer league like the rest of the baseball team. Coach Al Golden, of course, would like him to hone his football skills - participating in 7-on-7's and getting in the weight room.

"I know he's a good player, can be a lot better player," Morris said Wednesday. "He just needs to work more on baseball right now. What he's trying to do right now is go play this summer and play football in August."

Pressed on if Thompson will definitely go away to play baseball this summer, Morris said, "We haven't totally decided what he's going to be doing, when he's going to leave, all that. He'd like to try to play some this summer, but at the same time there's football so he'll do whatever they want him to do I'm sure."

Thompson says all he knows is he'll be on the football field come the fall.

"Pretty much right when baseball is over I'll be walking across the outfield and going right to football," Thompson said. "Hope to compete for that number two spot."

The biggest future question, of course, is which sport he ultimately chooses. While Thompson isn't ready to contemplate that yet, he has one baseball teammate who says he knows the sport Thompson is destined to play at the pro level.

Chantz Mack, who leads the baseball team with a .292 batting average, almost walked on to the football team earlier in his career and has thrown footballs with Thompson.

Asked what sport he thinks Thompson will play as a pro, Mack doesn't hesitate.

"Baseball," Mack said. "He's got it in baseball. You'll see. He's still young, you have to remember he's a freshman. You'll watch David grow up."

Certainly there's some growing to do. Thompson's freshman season hasn't gone quite as smoothly as he'd like. He's had some big hits, including a team-high three home runs, but is currently in a 1-for-14 slump he calls the worst of his life.

Despite that - and missing 10 games due to injury - Thompson still leads the team with 28 RBI. With the pitching staff keeping the Canes in games Thompson and the offense are looking for ways to break out of the slump and start generating more runs.

"Just got to stay confident, got to keep swinging the bats," said Thompson. "The game of baseball is a game of failure that's for sure, it's how you deal with failure and you just got to fight through it and get out of it."

Now Thompson is looking to finish strong and help the Canes make a postseason run.

"It's been a great year, a lot of ups and downs so far," he said. "I started off real hot, got cold, got hot again and now I'm hitting terrible, worst I've ever hit in my life. It's a different level, it's a lot harder mentally and physically ... I just got to keep working, spending more time in the cages and like I said I just got to stay aggressive, keep swinging the bat and the balls will fall."

- Thompson noted it may take a couple of weeks for him to get his throwing motion in order coming from baseball but does not see it as much of an issue.

"It's a totally different motion, but you know you're a little rusty at first throwing the ball but you get used to it as you get back into it," said Thompson.

- Going into football season one of Thompson's main priorities will be to absorb coordinator James Coley's playbook as he missed out on the initial implementation of the offense in the spring.

"Yeah, all those guys have seen it (the playbook) a lot more than me, but I've seen it a little bit," said Thompson. "Coach Golden texted me every once in a while just saying good luck or stuff like that and I've talked to coach Coley a couple of times but that's about it."

- Of his shoulder strength coming off surgery for a torn labrun, Thompson said, "I'm not throwing it (the football) right now. I'm just trying to get the arm as healthy as possible. It's getting there. I just got to stay with the rehab and all the exercise and it will be fine."

- Thompson reiterated he has no plans to focus on only one sport.

"(Doing both is) what I grew up doing and it's fun, I love them both," he said. "It's definitely a lot more time consuming than I expected. I expected a lot but it's a lot of time."

- Thompson says coming off shoulder surgery that he's doing fine but that it still does bother him sometimes.

- Mack says Thompson is one of the hardest workers on the team.

"David is a great teammate, is always positive," Mack said. "He has a great work ethic. As the years go on he'll be a top three pick because of his work ethic combined with his talent. He's going to be that power threat everyone wants to see."

Mack said it's not easy to do two sports at Miami.

"The fact he's able to play both and get great grades too, I think that's incredible," Mack said.

Mack said of throwing a football with Thompson over winter break that "I think David can be pretty good at quarterback. In the winter he was still coming back from his labrum tear, wasn't full strength, but I threw it with him the other day and he can sling it."

- Other football/baseball athletes in recent memory: TJ Prunty, Kenard Lang and Phillip Buchanan ("he could play center, right and left, all of them at once, just couldn't hit," Morris said).

"It takes a pretty unique guy to be able to do (two sports)," Morris said. "Both sports play tough schedules, there's a lot of competition to play. It's pretty hard."


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