Two-sport stars Clay Moffitt, Nick Coomes juggling football, baseball

Two-sport stars Moffitt, Coomes pull off juggling act

Clay Moffitt spent 15 straight days in Atlanta this summer — half of it toiling for Catholic High School’s summer baseball team at the Perfect Game 18-and-under World Wood Bat Tournament, and the next half of it playing ball for Marucci Elite’s 17-and-under team at another Perfect Game event.

It was two weeks of solid baseball for Moffitt, except for one thing.

He never forgot football.

“Worked at it every day,” said Moffitt, now a senior, who excelled as a pitcher/third baseman on Catholic’s state championship baseball team and has also earned an LSU scholarship offer as a tight end on the football team. “I ran two miles a day, and I lifted.”

It’s part of what Moffitt calls a “tough” existence that he and teammate Nick Coomes endure in order to be fully engaged in both sports — a rarity these days in the era of specialization.

“The thing about it is, we love it,” Moffitt said. “It’s tough, but we love both sports.”

And they feel a sense of responsibility to both.

As leaders of the state championship baseball team, Moffitt emerged as one of the Bears’ No. 2 pitchers behind all-stater Ross Massey, while Coomes was an honorable mention all-state third baseman.

On the football field, Coomes enters his senior year as a third-year starting quarterback. Moffitt is a prospect at tight end, even though a knee injury limited him to three games in his junior season.

“They are both big parts of what we do,” Catholic football coach Dale Weiner said.

And what Catholic will do is filled with expectations this year. Led by the baseball pair and junior running back Derius Guice — who is regarded as one of the nation’s top running back prospects in the class of 2015 — the Bears seem to have the pieces in place to contend for the state championship in the newly created select division of Class 5A.

And even as Moffitt and Coomes crisscrossed the country to further their baseball careers, they never lost sight of the football goal, either.

“Our goal is to win state championships for Catholic High,” Moffitt said. “That’s in football and baseball. We both love both sports, and we love being with our teammates.”

Moffitt credits Weiner and Bears baseball coach Brad Bass for not only understanding their needs in both sports, but also encouraging them.

“They have been great,” Moffitt said. “I love my coaches. You always hear about coaches not wanting their players to spend time at another sport. But not at Catholic.”

Indeed, the opposite is the case. In the case of Weiner, he has shown fierce loyalty to his baseball players.

After LSU hired Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator in the spring, Cameron enrolled his son, Danny Cameron, at Catholic. The younger Cameron was a starting quarterback at his school in the Baltimore area and looks like a college prospect.

But Weiner won’t budge from having Coomes as his offense’s leader.

“Coomes is our starter,” Weiner said. “He’s a three-year starter for us, and he does a great job. Danny’s an excellent player, and we are excited to have him. He has obvious talent. But there’s a place he can help us, on defense, like at safety.”

That’s a reflection of how hard Coomes, like Moffitt, stays engaged in football — even as he pursues baseball, which is his likely future sport in college.

There’s trust that even if they aren’t at all of Catholic’s offseason workouts, they’re taking care of their football business.

If anybody would know how to keep his body in condition for both sports simultaneously, it would be Moffitt. His father is famed LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt, who’s often considered to be among the best in the business.

The younger Moffitt can use his father’s advice to keep important core and lower-body muscles used for explosive football movements at ideal strength, all while keeping his upper body — notably his valuable right arm — loose and ready for baseball.

It’s important for him to be keep his body as conditioned as possible for either sport, because he does not know where his future lies.

At 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, Moffitt looks like an ideal tight end. With good power and pretty good speed and footwork, he looks like a natural for football and has an LSU offer that isn’t just a feel-good bone thrown at the kid of a coach.

“When I talked to coach Cameron, he emphasized to me that they want me to have a scholarship,” Moffitt said. “They don’t want to do it the cheap way, because they look at me as a Division I football player.”

He proved he was a Division I prospect on the mound this spring — particularly in the playoffs, when he pitched a complete game in Catholic’s 3-2 win over Zachary in the state title game.

“I’m not sure which (sport) I want to play,” Moffitt said. “I told them I want to decide after my senior baseball season, so they talked to me about grayshirting (for football) because I’d be waiting to decide.”

The decision might be easier for Coomes. At 5-foot-10 — “baseball height,” as Moffitt calls it — Coomes will likely field baseball offers this spring.

But first things first.

Catholic has a heck of a football team coming back, and Coomes and Moffitt want to make the most of that.

Moffitt will leave town one more time for baseball this summer, to a showcase event in Los Angeles that will keep him away from Baton Rouge until the eve of the opening of preseason camp.

“They know I’m not going there just to miss football,” Moffitt said.

Fair enough. By now, Catholic’s two-sport stars have they know how to juggle both.