Two of Kansas City's top high school baseball players have said they'll play ball for Kansas University. Now the trick might be getting them on campus.
During the early signing period, Jimmy Terrell, from Tri-City High in Blue Springs, Mo., signed a national letter of intent with the Jayhawks. And this week, Damian Rolls from Kansas City Schlagle gave the Jayhawks a non-binding verbal commitment.
Trouble is, both preps are considered hot pro prospects. Terrell, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound shortstop, was ranked the 17th-best prep prospect in the country by Baseball America. And Rolls, a 6-3, 210-pound third baseman, has been projected to be picked in the top 10 rounds.
"It's a good news, bad news thing," first-year coach Bobby Randall said of Terrell. "You want to get the best players, but you want them to come on campus."
Randall can't comment on Rolls until he signs his letter of intent. But Rolls is in the same boat.
"I think it's an option," Rolls said of going pro. "But I'm not really thinking about it at the present time. Right now, I'm thinking about college, and besides baseball, I think Kansas, educationwise, can give me everything I need."
Rolls picked KU over Texas A&M;, Arkansas and Kansas State. And he picked baseball over football. A quarterback, Rolls received football recruiting interest from Nebraska, KU, Missouri and Boston College.
"At first, I thought baseball all the way," Rolls said. "Then I had second thoughts about football. Ever since I was 3 or 4, it was just like a habit to play both. Watching (Nebraska QB) Tommie Frazier playing in front of 80,000 fans, that looked like fun."
Rolls said he planned to play only baseball in college. He hit .512 last high school season and .407 last summer for the Lawrence Rebels, an all-star traveling team. He hit 12 home runs and drove in 69 runs for the Rebels.
Rolls said he could be lured into the professional ranks, but it would take a hefty chunk of change.
"I don't know how it works, and I don't know where I might go," Rolls said. "But it would have to be a great circumstance. It would have to be impossible to turn down."