Torrence Focused Solely On Football

Baseball is still in Devon Torrence's blood, but the junior has put aside his pro baseball aspirations in order to prepare for the 2009 football season. Read on to find out who helped Torrence with his decision and how he benefitted from his first summer away from baseball in several years.

Even though Devon Torrence stayed in Columbus this summer to prepare for the upcoming football season, he couldn't completely let baseball go.

When he wasn't preparing for the season, the 2007 draft pick of the Houston Astros could likely be found at a batting cage swinging away. Baseball is simply still a big part of Torrence's life.

"I've been used to playing baseball every summer since I was probably 9-years-old," Torrence said. "It was awkward not having a bat with me, but what I did was hit by myself in a cage to stay in the swing of things. But it was definitely awkward."

The Astros' loss is likely to be the Buckeyes' gain – and Torrence's. The Canton (Ohio) South product turned heads during the spring and is a candidate to earn a starting cornerback job this fall. The spot left by the graduation of All-American corner Malcolm Jenkins will likely come down to either Torrence or fifth-year senior Andre Amos. That fact certainly weighed on Torrence's decision to stay in Columbus.

Nonetheless the decision to set aside his baseball aspirations was still a difficult one. Torrence sought the opinions of some of the veterans in the secondary before making his decision to stay.

"We did talk about it," senior strong safety Kurt Coleman said. "You struggle any time you have to choose between two loves, and he loves both sports. But he felt it was best for him to stay back and learn the system more and get more reps. I think he's going to make the transition well."

While Coleman didn't try to sway Torrence's decision, senior free safety Anderson Russell said he wanted Torrence to stay for the summer.

"I was really proud of Devon … because we talked about that after spring and he asked, 'What do you think I should do?' " Russell said. "I told him I think he should stay here because it was his first summer working out. I think he did a great job of working out and I think it's going to be beneficial for him to get a whole summer under his belt.

"He's going to be in football condition once the season starts. He'll have footwork and the simple small things down and have a foundation for that building into the season. He was all football this summer."

Torrence had spent the two previous summers playing for Houston's rookie Appalachian League team in Greeneville, Tenn. He played in only 30 and 34 games, respectively, and struggled at the plate. Torrence hit a combined .150 in 206 at bats in 2007 and '08.

Meanwhile Torrence was moving up Ohio State's depth chart. He saw limited action at receiver and special teams as a freshman in 2007, and after a move to cornerback during the offseason, started making a mark on defense. Torrence made 10 tackles last season, forced a fumble at Michigan State that was returned for a touchdown by Jermale Hines and won a letter for the first time.

Add to that a spring performance that has earned him a split of first-team reps in early fall practices, and Torrence had good reason to consider dropping baseball for now.

"The spring was a good momentum booster for me," Torrence said. "It really went back to me just learning the defense. I had a chance to get a lot of reps and just focus out there. Malcolm and those guys weren't here, so I kind of got thrown in the fire."

No matter if Torrence wins the starting spot or not, don't expect him to be done with baseball for long. Torrence still wants to be a professional baseball player. He said trying to be both a pro football player and pro baseball player still intrigues him.

"I talked to the Astros a couple of weeks ago," Torrence said. "They're very encouraging with the situation, as well as Coach Tressel was. Hopefully I can get back there during the spring sometime and still work out, and maybe hopefully if I lock a spot this year, I can go there next summer. Maybe find a way to work out (for football) while I'm down there playing baseball."

For now, however, Torrence is all about football. And that suits him just fine.

"I'm kind of glad I made this decision," he said. "I'm in better shape. I put in a lot of work this summer with one-on-ones and doing drills with receivers. I think it's going to pay off."

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