Thomas Crump really hasn’t had much of an opportunity to play at the varsity level during his high school career. Still, the speedy Madison Central senior outfielder certainly has the skills that impress college coaches.
“He has a lot of upside,” Madison Central coach Steve Roof said. “I think that’s what Roane State was looking for — a guy who will continue to develop. He’s very athletic. They are getting an athlete.” Crump drew interest from a wide variety of schools, but on Wednesday the senior signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at Roane State Community College. The outfielder also considered Alice Lloyd, Lindsey Wilson, Ohio University, Lipscomb and Ashland University. “This is a great opportunity for Thomas and its a great baseball conference,” Roof said. “He will see great pitchers every day.” Roane State, which is located in Harriman, Tenn., is a member of the Tennessee Junior College Athletic Association. Injuries have hampered Crump quite a bit the past few seasons. Elbow and shoulder problems forced the senior to drastically alter his throwing motion and last year Crump missed several football games because of a foot injury. “I was never taught how to throw,” Crump said. “It was pretty much just always on me. My mechanics were bad. I went to physical therapy for about eight months and (Central pitching) coach Nick Barte helped me a lot. I haven’t had any problems since.” Last season, Crump hit .280 in limited action. He did appear in every game, was used extensively as a pinch-runner and was only caught stealing once in 12 attempts. “We had three really good outfielders last year,” Roof said. “But, Thomas filled in and got some playing time. He runs really well and has a good arm. He will help us this year.” Crump has always had tremendous speed and he was able to showcase that ability during camps throughout the region. The Central senior was invited to a White Sox Area Code Showcase in Indianapolis last year and also took part in an East Coast Pro Showcase in Dayton, Ohio. “He’s one of the fastest kids we’ve ever had here,” Roof said. “He runs a 6.7 60-yard dash, which is really fast.” Crump was a starting wide receiver and kick returner for Central this season and did receive some interest from college football coaches, including Pikeville. His focus, however, has always been on baseball. Crump has been working on his hitting with former EKU standout Neil Sellers the past couple of years. Sellers has spent the past seven years in the minor leagues and last season played with the Jacksonville Suns, Florida’s Class AA affiliate. The Central senior has been told by Roane State coaches that he will have an opportunity to play as a freshman and could be the team’s starting center fielder next year. But, for now, his biggest goal is to help Central capture an 11th Region championship and get back to the state tournament. “I don’t have anything to worry about,” Crump said. “We just want to win a state title.” By Nathan Hutchinson (1/19/12)