Texas Signee Walla Improving as a Senior

Between Drew Stubbs and Jordan Danks, the Longhorns have a recent history of bringing long, lean, heavy-hitting outfielders to the 40 Acres. Though Stubbs and Danks were both elite draft prospects out of high school, they chose to attend the University of Texas. There is still three months until the MLB Amateur Draft, but Lake Travis centerfielder Cohl Walla appears to be next in line.

The 6-foot-4, 170-pound Cohl Walla committed to the Longhorns shortly after having a breakout performance at the 2008 Area Code Games. While playing against the nation's top high school talent, Walla was so impressive that Baseball America named him one of the top 10 hitting prospects at the event.

"It was a lot of fun," said Walla, who played with a handful of Texas recruits at the games. "Every game you had to come and play your best."

At some point, Walla was recruited by most of the nation's top collegiate baseball powerhouses. But a desire to stay close to home narrowed his choices to Texas and Baylor.

Walla eventually chose Texas, and he signed with the Longhorns on November 12. In the end, he says it all came down to comfort.

"At the end it was just between Texas and Baylor," he said. "I didn't feel as comfortable at Baylor. Everyone I've talked to that has gone to UT has said they love it and it's awesome."

As a junior, Walla had over 1,000 receiving yards for Lake Travis' state champion football team. Now a senior, Walla gave up football after his junior campaign to focus on baseball full-time. The outfielder believes the decision is already paying dividends.

"It has helped me a lot, especially with hitting," Walla said. "During the fall I don't get to do anything. I'm always playing football – I never had time for anything else."

Burnt Orange Beat recently went to see Walla's Lake Travis Cavaliers face the Lewisville Fighting Farmers during a tournament in Round Rock. Walla was impressive, going 3-for-3 with a walk. He showed off his promising raw power by belting a solo home run over the wall in left-center field. ( of the HR and one of his singles).

"I got some fastballs," he said of the at-bat. "The first one I turned on and hit foul. The next one was a fastball low and right down the middle pretty much. It felt good when I swung."

Later that day, Walla took the mound and led the Cavs to an 8-3 victory over Round Rock McNeil. Despite the start, Walla expects to be the team's closer when they begin district play in late March.

Walla currently patrols centerfield, but he has the ability to play all three outfield positions and projects as more of a corner outfielder at the college or professional level. He could also log meaningful innings out of the Longhorns' bullpen.

The right-hander has a fastball that was clocked in the mid-to-upper-80s in the past, but he has reached 91-92 mph this season. He also throws a cut fastball and a slurvy curveball.

Players of Walla's unique skillset are often highly sought after by Major League scouts. Walla, who was ranked as the 45th best '09 draft prospect by ESPN.com's Keith Law last September, has already talked to some scouts this year.

"There have been quite a few [scouts], especially during the scrimmages," he said. "I don't know if you know the catcher from Hays – Nick DeSantiago – but he said there were about 20 scouts at our first scrimmage when we played each other. I've talked to a lot of guys."

Regardless, there seems to be a good chance that Walla will attend school, as he'll be looking for a big-time signing bonus.

"I'm not sure on an exact number yet," replied Walla when asked about how much it would take to sign, "but it's got to be pretty much life-changing money."

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