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Choice Looms for Roscoe Crosby

By David Newton

The State, Columbia, S.C.

UNION, S.C.–The first thing you see when you enter the tiny house next to St. Luke’s Baptist Church on Lukesville Road is a glass case filled with trophies, pictures and baseballs. On top of the television a few feet away is a large, gold-plated football that says, "South Carolina’s Mr. Football, 2000."

"I wouldn’t mind putting a Heisman Trophy in the house one day," said Roscoe Crosby, the owner of the awards. Crosby also would like a Gold Glove or two.

He’ll have to decide which he wants more. As one of the nation’s top wide receivers, the 6-foot-2, 212-pound senior from Union High already has signed a scholarship to play football for Clemson in the fall.

As one of the nation’s top baseball products, the center fielder should be a first-round pick in June. Like Minnesota prep star Joe Mauer, a Florida State quarterback recruit who is a candidate for the No. 1 pick overall by the Twins, a daunting choice looms.

Ideally, Crosby would like to play pro baseball in the summer and football in the fall as Drew Henson did for a couple of years before signing a baseball-only deal with the Yankees. He hopes to be the next Deion Sanders.

Realistically, Crosby knows any baseball team willing to invest a first-round pick and first-round money in him will want his complete focus on baseball.

"It might come to the point where I go in the first round and they just blow it out the roof with the signing bonus," he said. "I really can’t say. I can’t see myself giving up football. And at the same time I can’t see myself giving up baseball."

The trump card may belong to his mother, Freda Hill. She wants her son to get the college degree she never got after dropping out of South Carolina-Aiken when she became pregnant with Roscoe, who was born with the name Terence Montrail Crosby.

"Money is not an issue with me," Hill said. "Sure, we ain’t a rich family. But I look at it like if I’ve made it for 17 years without, I can make it a few more."

Crosby, 18, finished his football career with 238 catches for 4,352 yards and 49 touchdowns. In baseball, Crosby has demonstrated the rare combination of power and speed. Some of his homers at Union are topics of conversation.

"See that light pole?" said Union resident Curtis Brewington, pointing to a pole 405 feet from home plate. "He hit a ball over the top of that thing one time. It must have gone 500 feet."

Crosby hit 16 home runs this season after hitting nine with a .561 batting average as a junior.

"Roscoe is just amazing," Union High football coach Mike Anthony said. "Roscoe can run right by you, right over you, or he can be very elusive. There is nothing he can’t do on the football field.

"And do you know what? Roscoe is an even better baseball player."

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