Walking off the baseball field for the final time this spring with his Atascocita (Texas) High School teammates, Chase Sowell wasn’t just putting an end to a season.
It was possibly the last game he will play on the diamond.
“We didn’t make the playoffs, but I had a good season,” he said. “It was just fun to play my last baseball season.
“I thought it was gonna be really hard because it was my first love. I played it all my life. But the more that I thought about it and … talked to my parents about it, I think I’ll be fine. I’ve been playing multiple sports and it’s hard to work out and focus on one sport. I think it’ll be a benefit for me just to be able to focus on one sport and work out on one sport.”
Despite having exceptional talent in baseball – he was recently named to the Houston Chronicle’s District 21-6A second team for outfield – Sowell will turn his focus to being a receiver for the Colorado Buffaloes.
This week, Sowell and his family will make the drive from Texas to Boulder. He is one of 19 newcomers set to join the Buffaloes, who begin summer workouts next week.
“I’m really excited,” Sowell said. “I went up there last time (in December), and it was nice. Now that it’s here, I’m just really, really excited. My parents are ready to watch me play. I’m just ready to be able to work and play at a big-time level.”
Sowell comes from an athletic family, as his father, Ronnie, played baseball at Florida and his mother, Keisha, played soccer for the Gators. His siblings are athletes and he has two cousins playing college football, as well as an uncle who played in the NFL.
Encouraged by his father, who is a coach, Sowell grew up playing baseball, but Ronnie is familiar with having to give up a sport in college.
“Actually, he was a football player in high school and then gave up football to play baseball in college,” Sowell said. “So it’s kind of kind of a coincidence that it’s switching roles. I was always a baseball player and then switched to play football. It’s kind of cool.”
As good as Sowell is on the baseball field, he blossomed in football last fall. In helping Atascocita to an 11-3 record, he caught 70 passes for 1,380 yards and 16 touchdowns, while also returning a punt for a touchdown.
Until then, Sowell had thoughts of playing baseball in college.
“I was playing baseball, going to camps and stuff, talking to schools for baseball,” he said. “But, I couldn’t really get any (scholarship) money for baseball. Football just took over, money wise and college wise, just to help with baseball. But then I figured out that I wouldn’t be playing baseball and just playing football.”
As a late bloomer in football, Sowell didn’t have a lot of scholarship offers. In addition to CU, he had offers from UTSA, Incarnate Word, Northern Iowa and Sam Houston. Sowell called CU head coach Karl Dorrell on Dec. 14, the day before national signing day, and committed. Then he signed his letter of intent the next day.
“It was really big,” he said of what the past year has meant for his future. “The year before that, I had an OK season; just a role player. In the summertime (in 2021), I really worked out, and then I just kind of just grinded. It just showed me how much the grind pays off. That season helped me a lot.”
Listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds on signing day, Sowell said he’s had a growth spurt and about a week before leaving for Boulder, he was at 6-4, 195.
“That’s going to be a big factor in my play,” he said. “That’s a big thing for me just to be able to use my size when I get in there.”
Sowell said he’s eager to work with CU director of strength and conditioning Shannon Turley and get acclimated.
“I’m actually ready for that, just to see what (Turley) has for me, just to see how much better and how much more growth I can have,” he said. “(The goal for the summer) is to learn the playbook, learn how everything works, how everything is ran in the program. I’m not going to try to rush into anything but kind of just take everything slow and just embrace everything.”
That includes embracing a football-only mentality for the first time.
“(Receivers coach Phil McGeoghan) has me excited to get down there and just learn everything that he’s taught everybody else,” Sowell said. “I think I’ll be ready.”