Arizona State University has always held a special place in the heart of Mountain Pointe High quarterback Nick Wallerstedt.
Growing up he would attend games with his family. His father, Brett, often shared stories about his time suiting up for the Sun Devils as a linebacker from 1989-92.
So when the younger Wallerstedt received an offer to play Division I baseball for the school he grew up watching, making the commitment was easy.
“I knew I had my heart there,” Wallerstedt said. “It was exciting when I got the offer. I knew it would be my top choice.”
Wallerstedt became a force on the diamond for the Pride last season. As a junior, he batted .408 with 32 RBI and three home runs.
On the mound, he posted a 4.60 ERA, striking out 32 batters and limiting his opponent’s batting average to .287.
Wallerstedt plans to play outfield and pitch for the Sun Devils next season.
Despite his verbal commitment in baseball, his recruitment for football remains open. If the right opportunity comes, it could alter his plans regarding which sport he plays in college, and where.
“I would definitely have to take any offer I get into consideration,” Wallerstedt said. “If an ASU football offer comes around I would do both.”
Walking away from football would be difficult. He has passion for both sports.
While some would think about ending a football career after committing to another sport, Wallerstedt continues to embrace the physicality of the gridiron.
“There are a lot of times I will yell at him to slide,” Mountain Pointe offensive coordinator Ross Crow said. “I will say, ‘Nick! You’re a baseball player. You know how to slide!’ But he likes to get the extra yards for his team.
“It says a lot about his character and how much love he has for this program.”
Wallerstedt has become accustomed to his role as a physical quarterback, lowering his shoulder on scrambles and often delivering the blow or a stiff-arm to an opposing defender.
Through six games, Wallerstedt has carried the ball 61 times for 244 yards and two touchdowns, adding to an already lethal rushing attack led by senior Jakim McKinney.
Through the air, Wallerstedt has completed 74 of 119 pass attempts for 1,093 yards and 12 touchdowns.
His leadership is the most impressive aspect about him, according to his coaches.
“He is as-advertised, the role-model type,” Crow said. “I have him in my class and he is a quiet kid who always gets his work done. At times he jokes with the guys and knows what buttons to push with everyone.
“Nick knows how to play the chess game on offense and put the pieces into place. That’s huge for us this year.”
The transition for Wallerstedt under Crow and new head coach Rich Wellbrock has been easy. Wallerstedt believes that the new offense allows him to expand his role.
Each play call gives him options. From handing off to McKinney to throwing a screen pass to junior wideout Dominique Davis, Wallerstedt said that his job this season has been easier thanks to the scheme and talent around him.
“It feels great knowing that we have a lot of starters that know what is going on,” Wallerstedt said. “I feel good under Coach Crow’s offense. It feels like a D-I offense and it’s widened my quarterback skills.”
Whether or not Wallerstedt will continue his run as a quarterback at the next level remains to be seen.
When asked about the upcoming baseball season for the Pride, Wallerstedt shakes off the question, saying that it’s “too early.”
His focus remains on football. He hopes to lead the Pride to the playoffs and a chance to play for a state title in December.
“I’m proud of him,” Crow said. “I want him to keep building on his leadership qualities. That will transfer to any sport he plays or whatever he does in the future.”