Connor Cantrell Builds Character As Two-Sport Athlete At James Clemens
MADISON- To have the distinction of starring in two sports programs in high school carries a lot of weight among the school and amid college recruiters who look for all-round athletic talent.
Connor Cantrell is a prime example of possessing double duty as an outstanding quarterback on the James Clemens football team and as a two-position player and three-year starter on the Jets Class 7-A baseball squad.
“Each sport builds different characteristics and makes me a more complete athlete,” said Cantrell. “Mentally, having to handle two sports each school year makes you grow up a lot and really fast.”
The 6-foot, 195-pound senior is currently leading the 12th ranked Jets in the somewhat moderated football season due to the worldwide pandemic. His junior season of baseball earlier this year was halted after only 20 games. He led the team in both homers and RBIs, batted .280 and exhibited some speed by swiping nine out of 10 stolen base attempts. His main position is infielder, but he’s also a relief pitcher and carved out three saves in the 2020 season.
In football, Cantrell was thrust into the high level of varsity play as a freshman after starting quarterback Jamil Muhammad was hit with a season ending injury. Cantrell was then regulated to a backup position as a sophomore before taking over as the starter during his junior season after the graduation of Muhammad.
He’s a leader on the field and considers his competitive spirit a great attribute to his success.
“I’m smart as I can be on the football field as I’m a student of the game watching a lot of film of our opponents and our play,” Cantrell. “I also watch college and pro games on TV to learn.”
Born here locally to Keith and Sandi Cantrell, the 18-year old Cantrell has a 4.0 grade point average and wants to attend college where he wants to study bio-medical sciences and attend medical school. He was drawn to that possible career having suffered from double vision since the summer prior to his eighth grade year.
“I was on the Tennessee River riding an inner tube with a couple of my friends, we took a spill and I took a knee to the head,” said Cantrell. “I suffered some double vision and just played through it. I went through a battery of tests through the years and it was determined I suffered Fourth Nerve Palsy.”
His condition worsened to where he wasn’t seeing the baseball clear enough while at the plate to hit properly. He struggled as his eyesight got tremendously worse. In June, he missed two weeks of summer baseball as he underwent eye surgery to correct his condition.
If he has a chance to play athletics in college he would choose baseball. So far, no offers have pipelined his way, but he’s more interested in furthering his education.
His days as a youth athlete included several years at Palmer Park and on numerous travel baseball teams. He was an All-Star player and played for some of the best teams in the history of Palmer Park. He began football in middle school and has secured a place in the positive culture among the football team at James Clemens.
His talents to tuck and run the ball have improved and in many ways compliments his strong arm strength, which allows him to throw the deep passes when needed. He’s selfless and believes in the team aspect of the sport.
To show he has tremendous eye-hand coordination he plays ping pong on the sport table, which is setup at his home. He and his best friends have played a many competitive games in the quick sport and it helps build competitive spirit, which will carry over to his adult life where his life will be filled with double duty experiences…all with a single vision of success.