Talented athlete faces difficult decision down the road

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. -- With high school football kicking off Friday, fans in Lee’s Summit must be wishing for a crystal ball. They're trying to predict the future of one of the school's best athletes, Monte Harrison, who has to choose between a college offer or the potential to go pro.

It's a cool problem for any athlete to face. Harrison's stock is soaring in two sports, including football, where Rivals.com rates him among the top 30 receiving prospects in the nation. He gave the Titans 14 touchdowns as a junior, playing at quarterback, receiver and returning kicks too.

Then, there's baseball. As an outfielder, Harrison made scouts take notice, with a batting average of .457 in only 83 trips to the plate. The University of Nebraska is offering a full ride for Harrison to play both sports as a Cornhusker. However, Major League Baseball's draft is also likely to call his name.

“I don't know, I don’t think about it much. I just think about working hard and seeing what I can do to get better and make the decision more easier,” Harrison said.

High school football coaches call Harrison a gifted athlete who lives on the weight bench. MLB’s amateur scouts imagine giving him a king's ransom to play in the pros. Harrison even played in the recent Under-Armour All-Star game at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

For now, the 18-year-old wants to graduate and enjoy a senior year between the white stripes.

“He's probably one of the best athletes to come out of Kansas City in a very long time,” Lee’s Summit West Head Coach Royce Boehm said. “It’s his natural ability to compete, he doesn't fear away from anything. That's what makes him so powerful right now.”

“It's going to come down to whatever it is at the end of the day. When it comes down in June, I'll make the decision then,” Harrison said.

Until then, he'll just concentrate on staying cool under pressure, on and off the field. Harrison’s decision on whether or not to play professional baseball will likely happen in June of 2014.

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