Let’s play 2: Baseball, football combo tests few who do both

Apr 21, 2022, 12:16 PM | Updated: Apr 22, 2022, 2:15 pm
FILE - Iowa pitcher Brody Brecht poses for a photo during an NCAA college baseball media day, Feb. ...

FILE - Iowa pitcher Brody Brecht poses for a photo during an NCAA college baseball media day, Feb. 10, 2022, at the University of Iowa Indoor Practice Facility in Iowa City, Iowa. The Iowa freshman is working double-duty this spring  as a pitcher on the baseball team and a wide receiver on the football team. (Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP, File)

(Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP, File)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Brody Brecht’s schedule is so full, sometimes he writes notes to himself to make sure he’s where he needs to be and when.

The Iowa freshman is working double-duty this spring. He’s a pitcher on the baseball team and a wide receiver on the football team.

With baseball in season and football going through spring practice, it’s all about time management.

“You kind of have to prioritize,” Brecht said. “And you also have to make time for academics, because those are important, too. It’s about getting done what you need to get done.”

Brecht is among at least a half-dozen Division I athletes who are playing baseball and participating in spring football simultaneously this year, according to conference and school sports information directors who responded to an Associated Press survey.

The others known to be doing both are Kansas outfielder-running back Devin Neal and first baseman-tight end Trevor Kardell, Michigan outfielder-linebacker Joey Velasquez, Georgia outfielder-receiver Randon Jernigan, Citadel outfielder-defensive back Dominick Poole and St. Thomas (Minnesota) pitcher-punter Kolby Gartner.

At least another dozen athletes play baseball and football, but were either injured or not participating in spring football this year.

Iowa’s Brecht has a high ceiling in both sports.

Brecht, who is on a football scholarship, was projected as a high-round pick in last summer’s Major League Baseball draft, but he made it clear he wanted to play two sports for the Hawkeyes.

“He’s a mature kid and he handles his business off the field extremely well,” Iowa baseball coach Rick Heller said.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder from Ankeny was the 2021 Gatorade state high school baseball player of the year and has established himself in the Hawkeyes’ bullpen. He’s 1-2 with a 2.65 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 17 innings over 11 appearances. His fastball has topped 100 mph 21 times this season.

In football, he was a two-time first-team all-state selection and as a senior was a 247Sports composite three-star recruit. He didn’t appear in a football game for the Hawkeyes last season, mostly because of a thumb injury that set him behind, but he’s in contention for a starting wide receiver job this fall.

“It would be easy for him to say, ‘Coach, I can’t make it this morning. We had a late (baseball) trip last night, can’t make it, see you all the next day,’ ” wide receivers coach Kelton Copeland said. “That’s not Brody. Brody’s at every meeting, Brody’s at every practice he can be at.”

There is a balancing act with baseball and spring football going on at the same time.

Brecht’s football work in the spring is non-contact, but he does go through weight training, meetings with coaches and route running drills with the other receivers and quarterbacks.

“When he can, when he’s available, he’s practicing with us,” Copeland said.

Raimond Braithwaite, the football team’s strength and conditioning coach, understands the challenges Brecht faces and is flexible. Some days Brecht will tell Braithwaite that the baseball team will return from a road game in the wee hours and that it might be better for him to sleep instead of doing a football weight workout that could start as early as 6 a.m.

“That makes a ton of sense,” Braithwaite said, adding that it would be counterproductive for an athlete in Brecht’s position to overextend himself physically. “So we have to be very intelligent in what we do with him.”

Brecht has progressed well in his first season of college baseball. He struck out seven in four innings against Ball State in his first appearance, and in his first home game his first three pitches clocked over 100 mph.

Brecht has been at his best the last two weeks, allowing one hit while striking out 16 in 8 1/3 innings.

Brecht’s two-sport success started in high school. He was 10-0 with a 0.56 ERA as a senior, striking out 126 in 61 1/3 innings in leading Ankeny to the Iowa Class 4A state semifinals in 2021. That came after a football season in which he had 42 catches for 599 yards and 12 touchdowns, helping Ankeny win the 2020 Class 4A state championship.

Brecht’s schedule will be busy in the summer, too.

He considered playing baseball in the Cape Cod League, but that would have kept him out of the football team’s summer workouts. So he will remain on campus for football workouts and drive 90 miles on days he’ll pitch for the Clinton LumberKings in the Prospect League.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” Brecht said. “I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t having fun and if I didn’t love it. But I’m having fun.”


More AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


San Francisco 49ers' Jauan Jennings, left, and Trey Lance embrace on the bench in the final minute ...
Associated Press

49ers head into offseason with more questions at quarterback

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers head into another offseason with major questions at quarterback after a season filled with injuries to the most important position ended without any of them physically able to throw the the ball downfield. Trey Lance, who began the season as starter, is getting close to being […]
15 hours ago
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva  waits for the arrival of the German Chancellor Olaf S...
Associated Press

Brazilian volleyball player suspended over Lula poll

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian volleyball club Cruzeiro suspended Olympic gold medalist Wallace de Souza on Tuesday after he conducted a social media poll asking his fans whether they would shoot Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the face. The 35-year-old de Souza, who played on Brazil’s winning team at the Rio de […]
15 hours ago
FILE - New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton walks on the field before an NFL football game aga...
Associated Press

AP source: Broncos get Payton as coach in deal with Saints

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Saints that will make Sean Payton their head coach, a person with knowledge of the accord said Tuesday. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams hadn’t announced the agreement, said the […]
15 hours ago
San Francisco 49ers' defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans walks off the field after Philadelphia Eagl...
Associated Press

AP source: Texans hire DeMeco Ryans as head coach

HOUSTON (AP) — DeMeco Ryans has been hired as coach of the Houston Texans, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The person spoke on the condition on anonymity since the hiring had not been announced. The move gives him his first head coaching job and brings him back […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Minnesota football players’ discrimination lawsuit dismissed

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine former University of Minnesota football players who were accused of sexual assault in 2016 in a case that roiled the school’s football program. The lawsuit against the school claimed that the players faced emotional distress and financial damage after being falsely accused […]
2 days ago
FILE - NASCAR Cup Series driver Ross Chastain speaks during the NASCAR Championship media day, Nov....
Associated Press

NASCAR bans Chastain’s wall-hugging move at Martinsville

NASCAR has essentially banned the “Hail Melon” video-game move driver Ross Chastain used at Martinsville Speedway to race his way into the championship finale. Chastain last year mashed the gas and deliberately smashed into the wall so that the energy would speed his car past his rivals. The move advanced him into NASCAR’s title-deciding final […]
2 days ago
Let’s play 2: Baseball, football combo tests few who do both