FAYETTEVILLE — Jonesboro High School Class of 2022 offensive lineman and right-handed pitcher Josh Hyneman is one of the top two-sport standouts in the state.
Hyneman, who pitches for the Arkansas Sticks as well, is also one of the best offensive linemen in Arkansas in the current sophomore class. His fastball clocks at 88 miles per hour consistently and he has hit 89. Jonesboro is a school that has sent offensive lineman Noah Gatlin and defensive end Jashaud Stewart to Arkansas in recent years and linebacker Marco Avant is committed to the Razorbacks for 2021.
Hyneman, 6-4, 270, is very familiar with Stewart since as an offensive tackle he has had to go against Stewart in practice.
“Funny story my freshman year our season got done,” Hyneman said. “They started pulling up freshmen. The first day I got pulled up I had to go against Jashaud. I tell you, he ran straight over me. He ran straight over me.
“The next week comes around and it start snowing. We practiced in the snow. They put the freshmen back out there against the starting D-line. My buddy was going against Kevin Pointer. I was going against Jashaud. I looked at Jashaud and said, ‘Ok dude I’m not even supposed to touch you. I’m gonna run up to my block.’ The next thing I know I felt his big hand on my back and he just threw me onto the snow. I swear probably five yards.”
While he got humiliated as a freshman by Stewart, it’s something that has helped make Hyneman a better player.
“I doubt I see anyone better my high school years,” Hyneman said. “Just going against him is crazy from my freshman year through my sophomore year. You could throw anybody up there and they knew you would have to put all your effort out just to stop him. His practice mode level is the same as his game level. He just goes full-out the whole time. It’s great for everybody. All our linemen improve over the season going up against Jashaud, Nate Light and Jordan Flanigan.”
Jonesboro has been loaded with football talent and not just the ones headed to Arkansas.
“The talent has been crazy,” Hyneman said. “It just comes in as raw talent and the coaches get us right. For example, coach (Brad) Chesshir he just recently moved to be head coach at De Queen. He has transformed so many different athletes into football players it’s insane.
“The amount of talent that comes through Jonesboro each year is really high and there’s just about not been a year where you leave at the end of the season and with about three or four Division-I commits on the team.”
Hyneman said coach Randy Coleman has started sending out film of him in football. In baseball, he’s hearing from Arkansas, Arkansas State, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Due to the COVID-19 shutting things down as far as spring drills and baseball, Hyneman has had to adjust to train more on his own.
“Really, I’m just utilizing home workouts you can find anywhere online,” Hyneman said. “I’m doing yoga two or three times a week at 9 a.m. Flexibility helps with just about anything.
“Still rebuilding off the knee surgery two months ago. I’ve been doing a lot of PT (Physical Therapy) work that I just got off of. A lot of like conditioning. Just going and using my baseball workout such as any like bench presses or anything that helps my upper body right now. Still working on my lower body just kinda conditioning and using my baseball workouts to my advantage.”
Due to the knee surgery, Hyneman didn’t get to participate in the six games Jonesboro played before the sport was shut down.
“Our season we actually went 5-1, but my surgery was the week right before,” Hyneman said.
Was the injury from football?
“We’re not exactly sure,” Hyneman said. “My knee just started hurting one day and we decided to go check it out. The PT wasn’t easing or reducing my pain. So he knew what he was right away (torn meniscus).”
In a normal year when school is in session and he’s playing baseball and there’s spring football, Hyneman has to try to balance his schedule.
“About the summer I have to do both of them,” Hyneman said. “I go through a different competitive stage on both of them. Then summer baseball is super competitive and in football I’m just focused on getting my work in during the week. I miss about 5-6 workouts in a summer because of tournaments. The second that school rolls over out of summer I’m just straight football because we’re doing with baseball already. I will still throw towards the end of the season just to make sure the arm is good and loose to get ready for baseball. The second the (football) season is over I go straight into baseball.”
In addition to pitching, Hyneman was adding some more duties to his baseball resume this season before the season was halted.
“I play some first base and I was gonna play a little bit of outfield this year just to get my bat in order,” Hyneman said.
Hyneman knows probably at some point in the future he will have to choose between football and baseball, but rightfully so he’s in no hurry to do that at this time.
“I’ve always been pretty set on wanting to play baseball at the next level, but really just whichever one works out best for me,” Hyneman said. “I don’t see in my near future quitting everyone. I just want to play through the whole high school years and then decide sometime in my senior year.”