Devon Torrence of Canton South is rated by Duane Long as the top football prospect in the junior class in Ohio. Most baseball experts, including major league scouts, consider him to be one of the best baseball prospects in the state as well. In his spare time Torrence also ran track for the Wildcats. Next winter, he will return to the hardwood as a point guard on the Canton South baseball team.
If you think this is a special athlete, you're right.
Torrence (6-1, 187) recently attended the Ohio State position camp for two days. Although he starred at running back for the Wildcats last season, gaining over 1,000 yards with 20 touchdowns, Torrence worked exclusively at corner back in camp.
"I feel I just might be a defensive back at the next level, so I went with the DB's," said Torrence. " I hit it off real well with coach Haynes. He told me he'll be recruiting me in the fall. He told me to work on my lateral quickness and to work on staying lower.
"Coach Haynes told me I have a great burst off the line. He told me that's something they can't coach. He liked my flat-out speed, but I'm glad he gave me some things to work on. When I come back next year, he'll see a difference in what he told me to get better at."
When asked what other coaches he enjoyed meeting, Torrence was quick to mention his favorites.
"I really like Coach Bollman a lot," said Torrence. "We've talked on the phone before and I really get along with him. Doc Tressel is really cool, too. He came to my school when I was a freshman, so I knew him him already. I like Jim Tressel a lot. He joked with me that I should give up baseball. He told me to forget about the Yankees."
When asked to name his list of colleges it didn't take long for Torrence to answer. He has been receiving mail from a lot of the top schools in America, but his list is quite short.
"My list is Ohio State, period," said Torrence. "That's all there is for me. I got a note from a Michigan coach asking me to come up for one day to camp, but I'm not going there. I'm all Buckeye and always will be. They showed us the highlight tape at camp and now I want to go there even more."
What if baseball comes calling in two years offering millions of dollars? After all, Torrence has been selected as one of the top players in the Midwest to compete in a pre-draft camp against the best in the country later this month in North Carolina. He hit 11 home runs while compiling a batting average of .575 this season as a sophomore.
"That's still two years away," said Torrence. "My goal is to play football and baseball for Ohio State. I'm planning on going to college, but if baseball offered millions I'd listen. Getting an education is important to my mom so it would take a lot to get me away from college."
It's no secret that Torrence has been trained by Butch Reynolds, now the speed coach for the Ohio State football team. Reynolds is a person Torrence looks up to and admires.
"It's great that Butch is at Ohio State," said Torrence. "At camp, he yelled at me that I wasn't running the way he taught me. My form wasn't right and he was yelling at me to do it right. He'll be great for the Ohio State team. He's really helped me and I'd love to be able to work with him again."
Torrence, who ran a 4.49 forty yard dash at camp, is as good a person as he
is an athlete. He is a good student who knows the importance of starring in the
classroom and is very mature for someone so young. There is no doubt he'll be a
big success, although it's too soon to predict what sport will be his best.