Will Roscoe Return?

With spring practice now right around the corner, one of the questions on everyone's mind centers around Roscoe Crosby and his possible return to football field next season. Will one of the top receivers ever to play in the south run down the hill again?

27 receptions for 465 yards and 4 touchdowns- those were Roscoe Crosby's statistics during his freshman season in 2001.

One of the highest profile recruits ever to sign with Clemson, and also a top Major League Baseball prospect for the Kansas City Royals, went through and up-and-down year that year after suffering through a knee injury against Wofford, and a broken nose in a post game celebration at Georgia Tech.

However even in limited playing time, the former Union star electrified Tiger fans by gaining over 130 yards receiving in one game and setting Clemson records for both receptions and receiving yards by a true freshman.

But after finishing up the first season of his collegiate career, Roscoe turned back to baseball, and the $1.75M contract he signed with the Royals out of high school. It was then when it was determined that it might be best for him to go ahead and fix an elbow problem that had been plaguing him since his days at Union.

Crosby had his ulnar collateral ligament repaired in his right elbow last summer after it became apparent to the Royals that he was having difficulty simply throwing a baseball from the outfield to home plate.

The Royals knew about his condition coming out of high school, yet still drafted him in the second round in the 2001 draft.

"He wanted to play outfield and we wanted him to play outfield, and we knew about his condition with him coming out of Union," Royals farm director Bob Hegman told Baseball America last year. "He really couldn't develop for us without being able to throw."

After the procedure was performed last June, Crosby was forced to sit out a year on the gridiron, but now it appears as though he'll be back at Clemson next season ready to take the field for the Tigers as redshirt sophomore.

Or will he?

The Clemson athletic department seems to think so after a statement was released in early January indicating that Crosby would play football again next fall.

"We welcome Roscoe back to our team," Tommy Bowden said at the time. "He is a talented player who has a lot of options in two sports. He is an outstanding player and a fine young man who can make a difference."

But what about all that money left on the table playing professional baseball? What if the Royals decide to make Roscoe Crosby a priority after he makes a full recovery this summer?

"They could come in and offer him something that may be too good to pass up," said Clemson wide receivers' coach Rick Stockstill late last week. "And even if he doesn't accept that, they could come right back and offer him a little more. So there's still a lot to be determined there."

Think about it for a moment, what would you do as a 20-year old headed for a potential multi-million dollar contract that could take care of you and your family for the next 20 years?

Would you take a risk on the same football field that saw you suffer through two injuries your freshman season? Or would you sign a bigger deal with the Kansas City Royals and secure the future of you and your family?

It's safe to say that Roscoe Crosby may still have some more decisions to make before he ever plays football again.

Even though his rehab is ahead of schedule and he's already indicated that he wants to play football next fall, there still could be obstacles in the way that would prevent that.

"I think you could say that Roscoe has a lot of work to do if he's going to play football for us this fall. He's still recovering from surgery and he's got his work to do in the classroom," added Coach Stockstill.

The seriousness of his surgery last June will keep him out of spring practice in March and he'll head back to baseball diamond this summer in the minor leagues. It could be then when the Royals re-evaluate his status and push for a baseball-only deal.

So what will he do? Only Roscoe himself knows for sure, but then again, he may not have as much information available to him right now, as he will this summer when the Royals may decide to "sweeten their offer."

But before the rumors start flying and the airwaves and message boards are dominated by his future at Clemson, don't discount Roscoe Crosby just yet. He may in fact have some unfinished business to take care of in the ACC next season.

"I am looking forward to coming back," Crosby said last year after deciding to withdraw from Clemson to concentrate on baseball in the fall. "The first time I run down the hill (in 2003) will feel like my first time my freshman year. I am not ready to give up football."

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