What ultimately led four-star Small to choose football over baseball

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Ed Small isn’t short on decisions. 

He’s talented enough to play football or baseball at the next level.

Proof? He originally committed to Texas to play baseball but backed off that verbal pledge when his football recruiting started to gain momentum, including a fantastic performance at the Next Level Athlete Camp. Then, on Feb. 23, the Austin Anderson product committed to Sonny Dykes and the TCU football program.

“I thought that (baseball) was what I was gonna do,” Small said. “I started getting recruited for football and then I realized that (football) was my passion and I wanted to pursue that in college. I hit a certain point where I was like, ‘I want to play football in college’. It just didn't make any sense anymore to be committed for baseball.”

According to PerfectGame.com, Small has a PG grade of 9.5, meaning he is a high level college prospect and could be drafted in one to the top 10 rounds of the MLB draft out of high school. 

As for football recruiting, Small’s rated a four-star prospect, No. 8 WR and No. 42 overall recruit in Texas for the Class of 2025 by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. He chose the Horned Frogs over football offers from Arizona State, Baylor, Cal, Houston, Texas Tech and more.

Small’s baseball background prepared him well to play wide receiver as he has been on the Trojan’s varsity roster since his freshman year in 2021. In the first game of his high school career, he caught six passes for 71 yards in a game he said is one of his favorites of his career. 

The game was the last time the Trojans fell to the McCallum Knights, who they always match up against Week 1 in the Taco Shack Bowl. In 2021, the Knights beat the Trojans 14-13 but with Small as a more complete player, the game has not been close since. 

The Taco Shack Bowl takes place on the first Thursday of every football season at House Park Stadium, kicking off the Austin area games in the shadow of downtown Austin. The game involves the entirety of both schools and is a fan and player favorite.

“It’s our first game so no one knows what to expect,” Small said. “We get interviewed by the local news stations and the atmosphere is always amazing. That's definitely a game that we circle in summer workouts that we build up to get ready for.” 

Small’s breakout 202 season started in the Taco Shack Bowl. He caught four passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns, helping Anderson to a 49-3 victory. Small would go on to amass 1,125 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns on 59 catches, opening the eyes of recruiters far and wide.

The 2023 season did not look much different. In his junior season he caught 77 passes for 1,112 yards and 19 touchdowns. His two standout seasons cemented that he wanted to play football. 

“It was events building on each other and the whole season being good,” said Small, who stands 6-foot and 200 pounds. “After the season, once the colleges started coming down, it just hit me that I want to play football because I’m enjoying it so much.” 

Since it’s the football offseason, Small has shifted his attention to baseball where he is still one of the best in the state. The biggest challenge in switching from football to baseball is the pace of the game. 

Opposed to the fast paced and intense atmosphere around football, players, especially outfielders like Small find themselves alone on the field. 

“You have to think more and it's more mentally challenging in a way because you're not moving all the time.” Small said. “You just stand there and you’re in your own thoughts. It’s slower, but it's also more mentally challenging at some points too.” 

Even with the differences in the sports, Small has found a way to shine and continue to improve to be a top prospect in two sports. While he isn’t opposed to playing both sports in college, it’s not something that he’s specifically looking for.

“It would have to be like the perfect fit,” Small said. “Right now I'm just focused on football.”


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