Coal City, W.V. (WVNS) – Independence High School Running Back and Center Fielder Atticus Goodson signed his letter of intent to play baseball at Walters State Community college in Tennessee on Saturday.

The decision comes as a surprise to some, as Goodson won the Kennedy Award this year, given to the top high school football player in the state of West Virginia.

Goodson says his decision to choose baseball over football came down to his long term health and potential to play professionally.

“If you look at my dad, he was a college football player and now he’s got, like, double knee replacements,” Goodson explained. “He’s got all kinds of problems from playing football. And I thought that maybe… I don’t really have a chance of going pro in football but I’ve got a little bit more of a chance at going pro in baseball. I thought about that a lot. So it’s been mainly a baseball thing since the start.”

After signing his letter of intent, Goodson took time to take photos with teammates, friends and coaches. But one person he went out of his way to honor, was an old coach who passed away that Goodson says made a big impression on his life.

“Ballard Lester. He was probably my first ever, like, coach that I can remember really pushing me hard,” Goodson told 59 News. “It was in PONY League. He passed away not too long ago and he was a huge impact in my life, so I made sure to get him in that picture.”

As for what Walters State can expect from Goodson next year, 59 News spoke with Independence baseball coach Scott Cuthbert about what kind of player the Senators will be getting.

“Attie’s a real hard worker,” said Cuthbert. “You know, he plays real hard every game we play. He’s been real dominant as a pitcher for us. He’s been one of our offensive leaders. And when he plays the field he’s probably one of the best outfielders I’ve ever had.”