Baseball Players Electrify as Quarterbacks
It takes a lot of God-given talent to play any sport at the collegiate level, but history shows us that most outstanding collegiate athletes were great at multiple sports while growing up.
A lot of skills from one sport can translate to another. For instance, many of the mechanics for baseball players are similar for quarterbacks. No matter what baseball position is played, it's important to align the body with the target before throwing across the diamond. There's often not a lot of time available to out a base runner. This forces players to learn how to set their feet quickly or learn how to throw off balance.
Some of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game were drafted to play major-league baseball. Dan Marino was drafted in the fourth round by the Royals, the White Sox drafted Archie Manning in the third round and John Elway was a second-round draft pick by the Yankees. The Colorado Rockies drafted Michael Vick despite him not having played since the eighth grade.
Several current NFL quarterbacks were exceptional baseball players. Kyler Murray was the No. 9 overall selection in the 2018 MLB Draft. Russell Wilson attended multiple MLB spring training camps during NFL offseasons with both the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. Patrick Mahomes was a stellar high-school baseball player and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 2014 MLB Draft out of high school.
It's clearly a trend that's worth looking into. So, we decided to ask current high-school quarterbacks that also play baseball at a high level how they feel about playing multiple sports and how it impacts them on the football field. Watching game tape for the players listed below, it can be seen how quickly they can flip their hips to put their feet in the correct position to make a strong and accurate throw. They also make throwing on the run look easy.
Archie plays quarterback and pitches at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga. He is a talented pitcher who throws 92 to 95 mph. His name has not circulated as much as it should have in football because he was behind Florida commit Carlos Del Rio before the 2020 season. It is expected that Archie will receive several power-5 offers to play football before he graduates in 2022.
He said, "Playing baseball and football has definitely expanded my game, big time. It helps you get comfortable with different arm angles, which helps with the Patrick Mahomes throws and the crazy sidearm throws. However, it also teaches you that you use your legs more than your arms. I feel like if you're a quarterback, you should play baseball because of how much it increases your game."
When asked about the difficulty of playing both baseball and football, Archie said, "In the summer, it gets difficult because you have football workouts in the morning, then you would have baseball tournaments on the same day, but I wouldn't say it's too difficult. The only downside from playing both is you get barely any sleep and with that comes your body getting tired, and as a pitcher and a quarterback, sometimes my arm would get tired, and I wouldn't be 100 percent on the mound."
Maginnis plays quarterback and third base at Newnan High School in Newnan, Ga., and is currently committed to play quarterback at Samford University although he has several other offers.
"I think in terms of mechanics of actually playing quarterback, baseball teaches footwork that transfers to quarterback plus being able to make throws on the run and throw from different arm angles comes from baseball as well," he said. "I think playing both has helped me the most mentally. In my opinion, baseball is the best teacher for how to handle failure because if you look at hitting, you're expected to fail over half of the time (not getting a hit), so I think having that ability, mentally, to make a bad throw and flush it quickly and handle failure without letting it get to me and moving on to the next play helps a ton."
Horn is a SI All-American caliber quarterback out of Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Ga. Horn has a list of D1 offers the size of a CVS pharmacy receipt in football, to go along with eight Division 1 baseball offers. Currently, Horn plans to play both in college.
He said, "I think it's definitely helped with my arm and staying conditioned. And it's always good to play both for competition. Playing shortstop helps with body control and throwing on the run because on the diamond I might have to make a throw across my body, and just like on the football field I might have to make that same throw."
Lonergan is both the 11th-ranked baseball player in the country by Perfect Game and the sixth-ranked quarterback by 247 Sports in the class of 2023. He has the potential to play professional ball in either sport. He's held an offer from the University of Georgia in baseball since the eighth grade.
"From a quarterback's perspective, it just keeps the arm in shape in the offseason," Lonergan said. "That's probably the main thing, but I think it also helps a little bit with accuracy too. Being a quarterback also transfers a lot to being on the mound."
Vandagriff is the No. 2 quarterback in the 2021 class according to SI All-American. He currently plays football for Prince Avenue Christian School, and is set to be an early enrollee at the University of Georgia in the spring of 2021.
While Vandagriff does not currently play baseball, he did play it a lot before starting high school. He decided to focus on football in high school, but it can be seen from watching his tape how baseball has aided his quarterback game.
He said, "It has helped me with leadership aspects and being in high-pressure situations a lot. Just being in control. There are a few things with mechanics that I had to eliminate or learn when football became my primary sport, but I'd say it was worth it."