Jun. 10—Otsego junior Joseph Dzierwa finds himself on two recruiting radars.
The 6-foot-6 left-hander has become a target for NCAA Division I coaches in both baseball as a pitcher and football as a quarterback. He will likely throw a ball in college.
But which one?
Or will it be both?
"I'm just going to wait out all my options and see what I have and choose what's best for me," Dzierwa said.
Dzierwa landed All-Northern Buckeye Conference honors this spring in his first varsity baseball season after helping Otsego reach a district final. He went 7-3 with two shutouts and a 2.01 earned-run average, striking out 115 and walking 15 in 66 1/3 innings.
He has garnered recruiting attention on the diamond from Bowling Green, Toledo, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State, Penn State, Missouri, Army, and Duke.
Dzierwa offers a three-pitch repertoire of curveball, change-up, and a high-80s fastball. Prep Baseball Report Ohio ranked him No. 16 in the state for his position and No. 86 overall.
Otsego baseball coach Chase Welker said he made good adjustments as the season went along.
"He started to figure out how to attack hitters' weaknesses, rather than just try and overpower people," Welker said.
Meanwhile, on the gridiron, Dzierwa has picked up traction from Toledo, Akron, Youngstown State, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia.
Dzierwa helped the Knights reach the Division V state semifinals last fall. He completed 143 of his 238 passes (60 percent) for 2,067 yards and 22 touchdowns with seven interceptions, and rushed for 245 yards. He was named NBC back of the year, Division V Northwest District offensive player of the year, and first team All-Ohio.
Matt Dzierwa, his father and Otsego's football coach, said the bulk of Joseph's recruiting attention has slanted toward baseball.
"He's 6-6, and he's left-handed, and he throws 89 miles an hour. He's getting a lot more attention because of that," Matt Dzierwa said. "But the football thing, some schools want to see him throw and wanna see him throw in person, and it's a good thing, I think."
This isn't the first time Otsego has seen an athlete in this position.
Ryan Smoyer (class of 2013) was recruited as a quarterback and a pitcher, before deciding to play baseball at Notre Dame, which came into the picture late.
Joseph Dzierwa has spoken to Smoyer about the process.
"He told me just keep everything open," Joseph Dzierwa said.
That includes the possibility of playing both sports at one place, about which some schools have inquired. Certain aspects of each sports benefit the other.
Welker said Joseph's Dzierwa's football mentality can be spotted on the mound.
"I think it gives him the right kind of mindset out there that you can't dwell on the last pitch or a mistake he made," Welker said. "You got to move on, and one of our things we preach to our pitchers is your best pitch is your next pitch. You can't dwell on the last one. So I think the fact that he plays football, he's got that mindset. He knows how to lead the guys behind him, and all of that translates to baseball very well."
Entering the prime stretch of summer recruiting, the list of schools vying for his talents — in both sports — is expected to grow.
"It's exciting," Matt Dzierwa said, "but it's a little nerve-racking every now and then."
First Published June 10, 2021, 1:38pm