3 star high school athletes juggle their love of 2 sports
Plymouth — Mike Sawchuk was in his office at 5 a.m. Saturday working on Plymouth High's game plan for Livonia Churchill, trying to find ways to get the ball in the hands of Cam Stella.
"We call him Jim Thorpe," Sawchuk said of Stella. "He does a lot of different things for us, plays running back, safety, can punt, kick field goals … you get the picture."
Stella does a bit more.
He, like West Bloomfield's Trishton Jackson and Baldwin's Brandon Childress, is an elite dual-sport athlete. Stella plays football and baseball, while Jackson and Childress play football and basketball.
So, what sport does the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Stella enjoy more?
"It depends on what season I'm in. I mean there's different things I like about football and baseball," said Stella, a junior. "I like the intensity in football and everything about it. In baseball I like the fact that any team can win any day depending on who shows up and just the fundamental aspect of it."
Stella, who runs a 4.5 40, is an outfielder and pitcher in baseball. He has yet to receive any scholarship offers, but plans to visit Michigan for baseball next week.
Jackson, a 6-3, 190-pound junior, is an outstanding dual-threat quarterback. He already has more than 900 yards offense and 10 touchdowns (five passing, five rushing).
"He's a phenomenal athlete," West Bloomfield coach Ron Bellamy said. "He reminds me of RG3 and Cam Newton with his ability to make plays with his arm and extend plays with his legs."
Bellamy said Jackson is getting recruiting looks for both sports. Jackson is among the top 15 basketball players in the state for the 2016 class, according to multiple publications.
And basketball is the sport that drives Jackson.
"I feel I can compete more in basketball and really get after it," he said. "But I do like football too."
Still, it's always basketball season for Jackson.
"I had a workout with a basketball coach from Central Michigan at the West Bloomfield Middle School," Jackson said. "I was just working on some shooting drills and conditioning."
Then there's Childress, a senior quarterback who has offers in basketball from West Virginia, Creighton, Loyola Marymount, UC-Davis, Penn State, Boston College and Rhode Island, among others. He has been offered a scholarship to play football and basketball at Central Michigan.
Childress was going to pass on his senior year in football to concentrate on basketball, but changed his mind. He wanted to play with his brothers, 15-year-old Brenton and 14-year-old Braeden.