Georgia Tech will likely lose one of its top football recruits, Blessed Trinity’s Jake Skole, after he was selected in the first round of Monday’s baseball draft.
The Texas Rangers picked Skole with the No. 15 overall pick. He was one of the fastest “late risers” in the country in the weeks leading up to the draft, due to an explosive playoff performance and making it clear with baseball front offices that he was willing to give up football.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder missed nearly all of Blessed Trinity’s regular season in baseball with a severely sprained ankle. However, Skole returned in time for the state playoffs and put on a Hall of Fame performance in front of dozens of scouts.
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 signed a football scholarship with Georgia Tech in February, with intentions of walking on the school’s baseball team to play with his brother, All-ACC third baseman Matt Skole.
Why did the Rangers pick Skole? Texas has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with the team to be sold by the middle of the summer. The cash-strapped Rangers were looking to pick an elite prospect who was willing to agree to quick and fair terms — making the Skole the ideal match. The Rangers have until Aug. 16 to sign Skole.
Earlier this week, 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 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.
“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.”