Georgia Tech accepts it may LOSE top FOOTBALL RECRUIT to the MLB Draft

Georgia Tech’s football staff has accepted that they may lose one of their prized recruits, Blessed Trinity safety Jake Skole, to Monday’s major-league baseball draft.

What advice would you give Jake Skole?

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Skole is one of the state’s hottest baseball prospects after seeing his stock soar over the past month. He is projected to be selected within the draft’s top five rounds.

Tech football assistant Buzz Preston contacted Skole and his family last week to discuss the issue.

“[Preston] was kind of laughing about it,” Skoke said. “He said, ‘We’re hearing a lot of good news about you in the newspapers. Too bad it’s not the sport we’re coaching you for.’

“I’m pretty close to most of the football coaches. We have a good enough relationship where I think they would understand if I signed a pro baseball contract [if he got a generous bonus].”

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder signed a football scholarship with Tech and plans to walk on to the school’s baseball team to join his brother, All-ACC third baseman Matt Skole.

When asked about the possibility of losing Skole, Tech football recruiting coordinator Andy McCollum told the AJC, “We’re aware of the situation. Coach [Paul] Johnson is excited about coaching Jake and having him as part of the Georgia Tech family.

“We’re hoping that he will stick with football and baseball at Georgia Tech. We think he will have just as many, if not more, opportunities after he goes to school here. We know Jake will do what’s best for him and his family, and we’ll support him with whatever he decides.”

MLB or Georgia Tech? MLB appears to have slight edge (AJC)

MLB or Georgia Tech? MLB appears to have slight edge in recent weeks (AJC photo from last summer)

Skole’s future in pro baseball seemed bleak after he suffered a severe ankle sprain and bone bruises while racing to beat out a bunt and clipping the Alpharetta first baseman’s foot in this season’s third game. He missed the rest of the regular season with a severely sprained right ankle and bone bruises.

However, Skole recovered in time to put on a blistering display of offensive firepower during the postseason. In 14 playoff games, Skole hit .452 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. In the Class AA semifinals against Georgia’s No. 1 pitching prospect, Cook’s Kaleb Cowart (97 mph), Skole was retired on a called third strike to lead off the game. He responded with a pair of line-drive hits in his next two plate appearances against Cowart.

“He can lay one down for a bunt, then hit one over the center-field wall for a home run on a low-and-away pitch,” Blessed Trinity coach Andy Harlin said recently. “He’s just … Superman.”

Skole was asked what he would say to Tech football fans worried about the draft.

“I’m going to have to do whatever I’m called to do,” he said. “I think it’s a life-changing decision that most people would understand.

“Georgia Tech is something special, and I will follow their football and baseball teams forever … they have been a big influence on who I am, with just hanging around the campus with my brother the past two years.”

In recent weeks, Skole has had intense conversations with baseball scouts about his future. They wanted to know how committed Skole was to baseball before considering investing a high draft pick or a large signing bonus.

Skole.Interview

Who knew? Not many predicted Jake Skole's rapid rise among MLB scouts last February at football's signing day (AJC)

“Up until a few months ago, if you had asked Jake which sport he preferred, he’d say football,” said his father, Mike Skole. “But with the draft so close, it came to the point where we had to convince these guys that he was ready to put the football helmet down and get after it on the baseball field.”

However, funny things can happen in the baseball draft, therefore the Skole camp remains committed to college until the draft unfolds. Said Mike, “I told Coach Preston, as far as we’re concerned right now we are geared up to start classes in July and play football and baseball at Georgia Tech.”

Other items of interest:

  • UGA lost one of its top football recruits to baseball in 2008. Cedar Grove tailback Xavier Avery was drafted in the second round (No. 50 overall) by the Baltimore Orioles and signed for a reported bonus of $900,000. Avery has flourished in the minors, with Baseball America ranking the outfielder as the Baltimore’s No. 10 prospect within the organization last week.
  • Older brother Matt Skole (6-4, 228) was named All-ACC at 3B for Georgia Tech after earning Freshman All-America honors last season. If Matt has another strong year, he projects to be one of the top college prospects for next year’s MLB draft. Matt was nearly eligible for this  year’s draft, along with his younger brother, but he doesn’t turn 21 (required age if not yet a college junior) until July 30.  Jake said Matt is “hoping for the best for me on Monday, too”
  • Blessed Trinity SS Alex Cruz, who has signed a baseball scholarship with Georgia Tech, will also likely be drafted. Said Harlin, “If somebody doesn’t take Cruz, they are missing the boat. If he’s not a professional ballplayer, then I don’t know what one looks like. To be at that age (17), and have the make-up he has … a top-shelf kid with all the tools. I’d like to see someone draft Alex even if he doesn’t sign. Then he can go to Georgia Tech and play and get drafted again.”
  • IF Skole signed for baseball and it didn’t work out after a few years, would he consider returning to Georgia Tech for football? “I may consider it. I’ve thought about that. But I think if I get the opportunity to start my career with pro baseball, I would want my mind to be focused totally on that. That’s the thing I’m most anxious to see, not taking six months off for [high school] football or basketball, and spending 9-10 months on baseball for a year.”

Note: According to major-league scouts, this projects to be one of the strongest classes for Georgia high school players in years. Here are some other top prospects for the the June 7 draft:

Cook RHP Kaleb Cowart: Georgia’s No. 1 HS pitcher throws 97 mph, but has heart set on 3B

Woodward CF Delino DeShields (The first Georgia HS player to be drafted???)

Marietta CF Chevez Clarke (The five-tool player? Enough power?)

North Gwinnett 3B Chris Hawkins (Mr. Clutch with 32-game hitting streak to end year)

Wheeler OF Dale Carey (Another first-rounder from Cobb school?)

Collins Hill LHP James Buckelew (The next American Idol? Just gets people out)

24 comments Add your comment

Dawg Power

June 3rd, 2010
4:50 am

Hmmm. Jake this is a very difficult decision. Go to Georgia Tech, hang out with a bunch of nerds who have a future living in their parents basements, compete with them over the three girls that attend Georgia Tech (whomever wins Halo on XBox gets to ask out girl first), and playing on a football team that runs a high school offense in front of 30,000 fans. OR … get paid, be teammates with your bro in the majors, and get chicks like Chipper Jones. Skole I don’t know tough call.

Jack G.

June 3rd, 2010
5:56 am

Dawg Power

You are sick. Please get help.

kingster

June 3rd, 2010
8:43 am

Dawg Power, what is your problem, why are you on this blog, ins’t it time to feed UGA VII or something. How about sticking to your own ( call the police) ga blog, I bet you wake up ever morning with Tech on your sick mind, Tech is not concerned with you Red Neck Wantabes, please just go away.

DD795

June 3rd, 2010
9:07 am

Dawg Power just got a used double wide. Dawgs are coming up in this world.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

June 3rd, 2010
9:11 am

if he’s projected 1st or 2nd round, i’d say take the $$ and head to MLB. playing both sports in college can only increase the risk of getting injured more.

dagnabit

June 3rd, 2010
9:21 am

Dawg Power
I agree. You don’t know.

collegeballfan

June 3rd, 2010
9:33 am

If he is drafted and gets a very high six figure signing bonus, he would be foolish to turn it down.

Brad

June 3rd, 2010
10:07 am

Dawg Power…you’re really gonna try to play the “nerd” card when you’re posting on a blog at 4:50 in the AM? Nice

DAWG POWER = DOUCHE

June 3rd, 2010
12:35 pm

parents’ basement? ha. you ought to see where I’m living.

rednecks

June 3rd, 2010
1:31 pm

If Tech grads are living with their parents…then where are UGA grads living? GT Grad avg starting salary-$58,900…UGA grad avg starting salary-$43,900. Per an AJC article last year.

Jackets!

June 3rd, 2010
1:41 pm

Jake come to GT. Look at your brother….we have a pipeline straight to the MLB….the money will be there after you play for a few years and (hopefully) get a degree. Players who can master more than one sport are rare. Imagine if Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders never suited up for there respective college teams? Auburn and FSU football probably wouldn’t be the same.

GT VET

June 3rd, 2010
4:18 pm

Hey dogpoopy or what ever you call yourself,his brother is AT Tech you idiot,and being a GT man I flew fighter Jets for the Navy.F14s and F16s cost more than you will EVER make in your lifetime.And btw the only people I know living in thier parents basement are Georgia grads or mostly Georgia fans ,which their basement would be under their trailer.Grow up you little weasel..

Buzz29

June 3rd, 2010
7:29 pm

He’s gone before he even gets here. We hardly even knew you Jake.

Go Jackets!

JJ

June 4th, 2010
11:59 am

Skole looks to be gone. Best of luck.

Truth be told, I was more excited about seeing him and his brother play on the baseball team together next year.

heartofdarkness

June 4th, 2010
12:52 pm

I wonder if the writers for the Jimmy Kimmel Show hang around this blog when they need to sharpen up their repartee skills?

McDawg

June 4th, 2010
1:13 pm

or he can pull a Quincy Carter

H.S. Coach

June 4th, 2010
1:16 pm

Carvell, why do you keep writing stories that have already been reported by the AJC weeks ago? How about some current articles?

McDawg

June 4th, 2010
1:36 pm

and here i was thinking Phil Steele had GT ranked in the top 10 when as it turns out they are not even in the top 30

Greg

June 5th, 2010
7:17 pm

It doesn’t matter where your allegiance lies, this is a no brainer. If the kid is going to get drafted high, he’s going to get a lot of guaranteed money. He would be an idiot to play college football at GT or anywhere else….he can take that money and go back to get his education later if he so chooses. Do you think Francouer regrets not going to play football at Clemson? Sure, his baseball career hasn’t been as good as he’d hoped, but he could have torn his knee up in the first scrimmage and been working an office job somewhere now instead of being set for the rest of his life.

Ted M

June 7th, 2010
1:19 pm

How do scholarships work in the NCAA for 2 sports players? Say a Tech player gets a baseball scholarships then plays football, does that count against their football scholarships limit?

[...] are unable to sign Skole. He certainly has enough leverage; as a hard-hitting safety he earned a football scholarship to Georgia Tech. The Rangers hope he becomes their version of Grady Sizemore, who similarly eschewed a football [...]

[...] are unable to sign Skole. He certainly has enough leverage; as a hard-hitting safety he earned a football scholarship to Georgia Tech. The Rangers hope he becomes their version of Grady Sizemore, who similarly eschewed a football [...]

[...] are unable to sign Skole. He certainly has enough leverage; as a hard-hitting safety he earned a football scholarship to Georgia Tech. The Rangers hope he becomes their version of Grady Sizemore, who similarly eschewed a football [...]

phill

June 11th, 2010
12:36 am

he smokes weed