Choosing Baseball

J.B. Woodman is a two-sport star in high school. But it's baseball that he plans to continue playing after his high school days are over.

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The quarterback of the Edgewater (Fla.) High School football team will play baseball at Ole Miss. The gridiron could have been in the future of the talented 6-foot-2, 190-pound Woodman. But it's the diamond where he wants to spend it.

"I chose baseball," said the centerfielder with a strong arm and good speed. "I've played baseball all my life. I only started playing football my freshman year."

That was part of his decision. He is fairly new to the game of football, having only played it since then. But baseball is a different story. He's been involved with it for years.

He's a member of the Orlando Scorpions, a team that Ole Miss fans are very familiar with now. Recent Scorpion alumni playing at Ole Miss are Will Allen, Austin Anderson, Auston Bousfield, and Sikes Orvis.

It was a positive in Woodman's decision to attend Ole Miss that those players are here.

"It definitely helped knowing those other guys are up there," said Woodman, who will be a senior at Edgewater in 2012-13. "It's good to know a lot of people from Florida are going up there."

Woodman, who batted .450 as a junior with three home runs and 27 RBI, had offers from Florida and Arkansas. He had been talking to Alabama and Florida State. But it was Ole Miss that got his commitment.

"I like the atmosphere of the school," said Woodman, who bats left and throws right. "I like the southern town. I'm kind of a southern kid. I like the facilities, and I really like how many people go to the games there. It's a very important sport to them."

He also is impressed with the Rebel coaches and was familiar with one of them from his time in Orlando. Rebel assistant Cliff Godwin was at Central Florida until this time last year.

"I like the coaches a lot," he said. "I've talked to Coach Godwin since last summer. I've gotten to know him pretty well. I'm comfortable with them."

Woodman was in Oxford for the Alabama football weekend last fall and for the LSU baseball series this spring. He is playing for the Scorpions again this summer. He was in Minneapolis last weekend for the Perfect Game National Showcase.

He's working to improve his game from now until his arrival in Oxford. He won't be playing fall baseball as a senior in high school because he will lead the Class 6A Edgewater football team again as its signal-caller.

But his decision is firm to attend Ole Miss and play baseball. And a lot of his focus is on that now and throughout the next school year.

"I definitely want to get bigger and faster and also work on my swing," said Woodman, an All-Metro Orlando player who is a good bunter and with speed to steal bases. "I'm glad I made my decision (to play baseball at Ole Miss). Now I don't have to worry about it and can just work to keep getting better and better."

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