To most people, Ben DeLuzio is a baseball player. As a sophomore last year, the sure-handed shortstop with the skillful bat hit .406 with 12 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 30 RBI and 35 runs scored.
To other people, Ben DeLuzio is a football player. The wide receiver is a tight route runner with 4.47 40-yard-dash speed and when he gets the football, he makes it count. Last season he had just 13 catches in a run-first offense, but he averages 28 yards per catch and had four touchdowns.
The Orlando First Academy standout has four college scholarships to play baseball from UCF, FAU, FIU and Ole Miss. On Wednesday, Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas offered him in football.
“It was the first one .. so hopefully I’ll be able to get some more,” DeLuzio said of the NCAA Division I-A football offer. “It was surprising, especially being all the way out at SMU … and I guess, for TFA, not really being known for getting noticed for football so yeah, it was pretty surprising.”
His success in two sports will put him in somewhat of a quandary when it comes time to decide what he wants to pursue in college. He could even pick both sports, but he will wait to make the best decision when he has all the options in front of him.
“I’m just a regular baseball player and a regular football player,” DeLuzio said. “I view myself just like an athlete who does both.
“For me, my parents really want me to go to a good academic school and a good athletic school so that’s got to be one of the things that I look for. So, if the opportunity comes to play both, I’ll gladly take it … but if it does come down to one or the other, then I’ll be fine with that too.”
Of course, then he would have to pick one or the other.
“A lot of people ask me that, but I’d say I like them both equally,” said DeLuzio, who is ranked No. 45 in the Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60.
He did say that if he had an opportunity to play both sports at a lower level like NCAA Division I-AA, or just one sport at the Division I-A level, he’d go with the Division I-A school.
“Coming from a competitive background I’d probably take the DI scholarship and play one sport just because of my competitive nature,” said DeLuzio, who’s dad Don was a linebacker at Colorado (1985-88) and sister Alexa (RS-JR) is currently a starting guard on the Florida State basketball team.”
As for SMU, there wouldn’t be a dilemma if he decided to choose to play for the Mustangs.
“They don’t have a baseball program, so that sort of weighs on my decision on whether I go there,” DeLuzio said. “But I just try to keep all options open and see what opportunities come around.”
He said he’d like to see more opportunities come around for him within his own team offense at run-oriented First Academy, whose quarterback Curt Cramer threw just 98 passes last season.
“Sometimes it gets a little frustrating, but most of the time we can just come to Coach (Leroy) Kinard if we see something open and he’s more than willing to do it because he’s got confidence in us,” DeLuzio said of the TFA receivers.
DeLuzio, who carries a 4.4 GPA, will have a busy summer playing baseball for the Orlando Scorpions and trying to squeeze in a few football camps.
His ideal situation would be to see Florida or Florida State offer opportunities for him to play both sports, but if he had to settle for playing one, either of those schools would still be the schools he’d like to see offer.
Of course, he will eventually have to choose, and it seems most people see him as a baseball prospect.
“Sometimes it is frustrating that they only see one side of me … and it’s the same thing somewhat in football, they see only the one side,” DeLuzio said. “But I don’t get to into all that. It is what it is.”
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