Stuckey Mosley’s senior year could have been one fraught with frustration, stress and just plain confusion. As a two-sport star at Orlando Timber Creek High School, Mosley had a decision to make entering his senior year.
It was highly unlikely he would have been comfortable enough with an opportunity to play both football and basketball at the next level. For most two-sport stars, regardless of talent, there is almost always one sport pulling the athlete from the other.
Sure, there are exceptions. Florida State quarterback and outfielder Jameis Winston is certainly at the forefront of current dual-sport college stars. He has had little issue with juggling the demands and responsibilities of playing two sports and keeping up with a his college course load.
It’s not the norm, and most high-school players come to realize that placing such a demand on themselves at the same time they are entering a brand-new phase of their lives is unrealistic. Some players from the Central Florida area who have recently given up one sport at the college level include Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel (Hagerty), FSU baseball player Ben Deluzio (Orlando First Academy) and Auburn baseball player Damon Haecker (Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley).
Mosley was lucky the decision evolved for him. His college scholarship offers to play basketball overwhelmed any attention he was getting as a quarterback, so the 6-foot-4, 170-pound Mosley committed to the Toledo hoops program three weeks ago.
The same decision looms for numerous other top-notch, two-sport seniors this school year. Leesburg quarterback/safety Jabari Dunham and Lake Brantley safety Chase Haecker, Damon Haecker’s younger brother, are just two of the many locals who will face tough decisions.
Dunham said he has no aspirations to try to play both sports in college.
“Nah … I want to make a decision,” Dunham said. “It would be too much in college to play both sports. It’s easy to do in high school, but at the college level, one sport demands so much out of you.”
His aspirations, in fact, go beyond college.
“It doesn’t depend on the offers or the schools,” Dunham said. “I’ll make a decision based on me and where my heart is and whether or not I can get to the league. At the end of my high-school career, whatever sport I feel I have the best chance to reach the professional level, that’s the one I’m going to choose.”
Dunham, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound point guard on the hardwood, averaged 10 points and five assists a game as a junior at Leesburg after transferring from neighboring Eustis.
In his first five games as a senior quarterback, Leesburg is 5-1 and Dunham has 977 passing yards with 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He leads Central Florida quarterbacks with a 66-percent completion rate (83 of 126). He has also rushed for almost 200 yards and five TDs.
Dunham said he has no official offers, but the school that has shown the most interest is Georgia Southern, a school moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision level and already competing at the Division I level in basketball.
Haecker, too, said he plans to pick one sport. He helped Lake Brantley to the large school state title in baseball this past season. That, however, caused him to miss spring football, which is when most colleges hit the recruiting trail hard in Florida.
“Football-wise, since I missed the spring, it’s been a different process for me. I’ve had to reach out to colleges,” Haecker said. “So there’s definitely some difficulty, but also an opportunity to be able to play both.”
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound football safety for the 5-1 Patriots is averaging about five tackles a game. Haecker, a versatile utility infielder/outfielder on the baseball squad, hit .257 in the regular season last spring.
He has schools such as The Citadel (football), Valparaiso (football), Georgia Southern (football), the Air Force (possibly both sports) and South Carolina Upstate (baseball) interested in recruiting him. He, too, figures he’ll be siding with one sport, however, once his high-school career is complete.
“I believe I’m going to choose one and stick with it and get myself the best that I can be in that one sport,” Haecker said. “It will be difficult, but in talking with my brother, he said it’s been cool because he’s now able to focus on one sport.
“So I’m really looking forward to picking one and just riding it out.”
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting, Instagram at os_recruiting and on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.