Feature photo courtesy of Diane Nixon.
To become the No. 3 ranked baseball prospect in the class of 2019 according to Perfect Game, it takes a lot of hard work. Most people would have to dedicate their life to the game to have that much success, but Maurice Hampton doesn’t have time to do that, because he also has to worry about being a top football recruit in the state of Tennessee.
Hampton, an incredible 6-foot-1 athlete from Memphis University High School in Tennessee, has multiple Division I offers to play both sports. While he has offers from local big-time schools Vanderbilt and Memphis for only football, and an offer from Miami for only baseball, Hampton has been given the opportunity to play both sports at Louisville, Ole Miss, and LSU.
While some believe that playing two sports at a high level in college takes too big a toll on a kid, Hampton believes he can accomplish it, and it’s something he really wants to do.
Just like Deion Sanders, one of the most famous athletes to play both baseball and football professionally, Hampton plays the outfield on the diamond and defensive back on the gridiron, which are two position that have many similarities.
“Being a DB, you’ve got to go and get the ball and you’ve got to change directions quickly so playing the outfield and playing DB is similar,” Hampton said. “It’s a different sport but you’re using the same type of motions.”
In just one year of high school sports, Hampton has already had great success in both football and baseball. The success has earned him a high ranking in the eyes of many recruiters, which is something that really humbles Hampton.
“It means a lot to me. It makes me want to play harder, and I can never take days off,” Hampton said about being a highly rated recruit. “It puts a target on my back because everybody knows who I am. It’s a good thing to have but it also makes me work harder.”
When Hampton talks about his work ethic, it’s not just all talk. John Jarnagin, his baseball coach at Memphis, had a lot to say about Hampton and what makes him such a great player and a great person.
“[Maurice] is a tremendous athletic talent, but more than that he is a humble grateful young man,” said Jarnagin. “He is a hard worker on the field [and] he does not expect anything to be handed to him. That is what makes him so good.”
Hampton already has confidence in his game and his work ethic, which is validated by all of his college offers. For football, he says the college attention came from highlight tapes from his freshman season of high school, but his baseball offers come from his performance for his summer team, the MVP Banditos.
Most baseball players are recruited through summer baseball, and Hampton was able to use his great speed in the outfield and great power from the right side of the plate to earn his four baseball offers. But, Hampton believes that off-the-field traits can also be very important.
“If your personality is good, it just makes your relationships better and makes schools want to recruit you even more,” Hampton said. “On a team, I don’t wanna be that guy that no one wants to talk to.”
Even with all of the skills that Hampton possesses, he knows he still has room to improve, not only in both baseball and football but also in everyday life.
“I think I need to get quicker. My straight-line speed is good, but I need to be quick while stealing a base. My first two steps, I think, I can get a lot better with,” Hampton said. “As far as academics, my time management (is a place where I can improve). I know I have a lot of things going on, but if I could manage my time a little better I think I could become an all-around better person.”
Hampton will have to continue to work hard to continue to get better, but hard work shouldn’t be a problem with the help of his father.
“[My dad always says] let’s go workout,” Hampton said. “He helps me if I’m having trouble with my homework and if he can’t help me he’ll find someone who will.”
With all of the work he does and the success he is having, Hampton will have to pick a school in the near future. He has a lot of factors to weigh in making his decision, including his desire to be a two-sport Division I athlete, but Hampton is already having thought about what he would like in a school.
“LSU is good for both sports. Somewhere like Louisville is good for both sports. [I would like] a school that’s not just one-sided and a school where both sports would be balanced,” Hampton said.
Hampton also expressed a definite interest in academics, which will be another factor at the top of his list when picking a school.
“Both of my parents majored in biology, and I am interested in the medical field,” he said.
Hampton said he is also looking for offers from Tennessee, Clemson, and Florida, which he says all combine having great baseball and football teams with good academics.
Wherever Hampton ends up playing college sports, you can almost guarantee he will do whatever he can to succeed in both football and basketball. People right now may not see him as the next Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders, but Maurice Hampton has the work ethic and the desire to be just as great.
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