In the fall, Corbin Cutshaw looks like any other UC Davis running back.
He uses vision. He cuts. He bursts.
Then the spring arrives, and Cutshaw is still at it. He’s still using vision, still cutting, still bursting – just like in the fall.
He uses vision to read the baseball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. He takes his cuts with a metal bat. He bursts out of the batter’s box toward first base.
At a time when playing two collegiate sports at once has become a rarity, the Economics major finds a way, doubling as a running back and outfielder for the UC Davis football and baseball teams, respectively.
Last year as a freshman, Cutshaw redshirted in both sports, so he has yet to play a game in baseball. But for the last two weeks, the Santa Fe Christian High graduate has been making an impact on the gridiron, excelling on the ground and out of the backfield for the Aggies (4-4).
Leading up to Cutshaw’s second straight start, Aggie Staff Writer Michael Gehlken recently sat down with the Carlsbad, Calif. native to discuss his recent productivity and some of the sacrifices that come with being a two-sport Division I athlete.
Since Joe Trombetta and Brandon Tucker’s knee injuries two weeks ago, you’ve taken advantage of an increased workload, rushing 24 times for 178 yards and a touchdown to go with seven receptions for 69 yards. After spending all of last year redshirting, what’s it been like for you to finally get back on the field and have that success?
It definitely feels really good. I redshirted last year, like you said, and during that time, you’re just practicing and never seeing the benefits during a game. It feels really good to get back in the swing of things.
How important has it been for you to make the most of your time on the field?
Since I redshirted last season, no one’s really been able to see what I’m capable of doing. So every game, every day, every practice, it’s just an opportunity to show to not only myself but also this team and coaching staff that I’m capable of playing at a very high caliber and intensity.
During the high school recruiting process, how high of priority was it for you to find a college that would let you play both football and baseball, and how much did that factor into your decision to commit to UC Davis?
It was really important because I wasn’t ready to quit baseball. I love that sport – I’ve been playing it since I was little. And of course, for football, there’s nothing else like football. Deciding to play both was definitely a really big decision. I know when I was being recruited, I talked to Bob Biggs, the head coach, and I told him I wanted to have the opportunity to play baseball, and he said that was fine because he knew my background. I was pretty successful at baseball in high school and didn’t want to give it up, and he knew where I was coming from – they were all up for it.
It was really nice finding a college football program with coaches that were supportive because a lot of coaches were like, ‘No, we want you to focus on one sport.‘ The coaches here really encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to grow as an athlete.
What schools were recruiting you as a one-sport athlete?
I was getting recruited by SDSU for football, USD, Cal Poly and four or five private schools back East. I didn’t get recruited that much for baseball because I signed early with Davis so I was kind of off the radar.
What time of the year is it most difficult to be both a football and baseball player, and what kind of sacrifices do you have to make?
For time of the year, I think it’d be the transition from winter to spring. That’s when the baseball season starts picking up, and that’s when spring football starts picking up. Last year, there were a couple times a week that I’d go straight from football to baseball practice, so like six hours a day I’d be doing some type of physical activity.
One of the sacrifices I have to make is definitely less family time. I only went home to visit twice last year because I was too busy with football and baseball. Like six out of the seven days of the week, I‘d have practice for either football or baseball, so free time is a sacrifice.
Which sport do you feel you’re better at?
Better at? I don’t know. It’s a matter of opinion, I guess. I like to say I’m decently good in both. I think I might be a little more knowledgeable in baseball just because I’ve been playing it for so long and have been around it for so much longer. …I first started playing football in high school, and I’ve been playing baseball my whole life.
MICHAEL GEHLKEN can be reached at email@example.com.