Time was an issue for Jack Colyar. That’s what happens sometimes when you’re an all-star in two sports.
A football quarterback and a baseball pitcher at Archbishop Wood, Colyar had trouble over the last few summers squeezing in offseason workouts for both games.
"Football is really demanding, especially at Wood,” Colyar said. “It’s just grinding every day on the football field, so there’s not really any time to throw the baseball, which is tough.”
Still, despite a storied football career and interest from several Division I teams, the 6-foot-2 senior chose a future in baseball as a Duke recruit.
“Duke is such a great academic school that I couldn’t turn down that opportunity," said Colyar, who is 3-1 this season with a 2.92 ERA in six appearances.
"It’s one of the only places you can get that kind of academics while playing at a high level. One of [Duke’s] big sayings is, ‘It’s the best of both worlds.’ ”
Colyar started playing both sports when he was six and said he always loved them equally. In his three seasons as quarterback at Wood, Colyar led the Vikings to PIAA Class 5A state championships in 2016 and 2017 and the 2018 semifinal.
Colyar transferred to Wood after his freshman year playing junior varsity quarterback and varsity baseball at La Salle.
Colyar said managing his time the last three summers was difficult. Between football workouts four days a week, finding free time to pitch was rare. His summer baseball with the Philly Bandits ended in early July, so his full focus went to football after that.
Although playing both sports created some difficulties, Colyar said it made him a better pitcher, improved his arm strength and helped him end up at Duke.
“When [Duke] was recruiting me, they told me they loved guys that played multiple sports,” Colyar said. “They would prefer me to [play baseball] more in the summer, but I’ve always played football, and I love it.”
After the 2018 football season ended, Colyar took the rest of December off to rest his arm. He then did physical therapy exercises on the arm before he started his baseball workouts in January.
Wood baseball coach Jim DiGuiseppe said, despite the nearly year-round strain on Colyar’s right arm, playing football has actually helped him on the baseball field.
“This is his third year anchoring our [pitching] staff, and I’ve seen no signs [football] would take anything away from him or detract in any way,” DiGuiseppe said.
Like 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, who also won multiple high school state football titles, Colyar had schools trying to get him to play football, and some discussed him playing both.
Colyar said Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Princeton wanted him to play football, and Columbia offered for him to play both. But for the future economics major with a 4.1 grade point average, playing two Division I sports and finding time to focus on school didn’t seem feasible.
“We definitely thought about it as a family, but it would be a lot of time on top of the academics,” Colyar said. “I think it would be pretty tough. It was kind of unknown how that would work out.”
With all his attention now on baseball, Colyar looks to add a Philadelphia Catholic League baseball championship to his trophy case in his final season. So far, he allowed one hit and struck out five in three innings against Cheltenham, allowed one run and struck out seven in 4⅓ innings against Archbishop Ryan and allowed one hit and struck out five in three innings against Harry S Truman.
His fastball has been clocked at 89 mph this year.
Colyar’s next goal, he said, is to get even better and pursue a career in the Major Leagues.