College Football Stars Who Could Play Major League Baseball

Randy ChambersAnalyst IJune 4, 2013

College Football Stars Who Could Play Major League Baseball

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    Baseball is considered by many to be the toughest sport to play. Football is considered to have the toughest athletes in the country.

    What happens when you combine the two?

    We have seen plenty of football players try to hack it at baseball, but you can count on one hand how many actually succeed. Hitting a baseball that is traveling in the upper 90s isn't as easy as it appears on television. Tracking a ball under the lights can be challenging as well without running into the fence and bashing your face into the padding.

    Even with the odds stacked against most football players, there are some college football stars out there who give us hope.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

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    Sammy Watkins is a natural athlete who has quick feet and above-average speed. The same way he covers a ton of ground on the gridiron would make him a solid outfielder.

    Outfielders need to have quick reactions and good feet to be able to chase down fly balls and prevent a ball from trickling to the warning track. Watkins is somebody who could hold his own in a bigger ballpark and help limit extra bases.

    There is no indication on how good his arm strength is or if he could even hit water if he fell out of a boat. However, he is a talented athlete who puts the work in and could develop a solid swing over time. Although strictly for defensive purposes right away, there would be teams out there willing to give him a look in the outfield.

    Unfortunately, this would never happen, as Watkins appears to have a bright future in football.

Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford

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    Tyler Gaffney took the 2012 season off to focus on baseball and is now back competing for more touches on the football team. But don't think the decision to return to the gridiron had to do with him not being able to hack it on the diamond.

    Gaffney was a two-time honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection and had a .301 career batting average. He produced 33 career doubles, nine triples and eight home runs in 161 games, while also stringing together a 24-game hitting streak.

    The Stanford running back was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 24th round of the 2012 MLB draft. He spent a couple of seasons playing for the Class-A State College Spikes, where he had 33 hits in 111 plate appearances.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

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    Jadeveon Clowney is the Bo Jackson of this generation. His combination of size and athleticism is simply something we haven't seen before at this level and it makes you believe he can do anything. He is a man among boys, and you would be insane to believe he couldn't thrive in another sport.

    According to his South Carolina bio, Clowney was a solid player on his high school basketball team. Baseball wise, the ferocious defensive player has a tremendous lower body that would help produce power with the bat. He is also extremely fast for his abnormal body frame, which means he could beat out a few ground balls.

    Jackson was a freak of nature who was naturally gifted at anything he did. Clowney has that same feel and would carve out a productive baseball career on the side.

De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

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    There is no question De'Anthony Thomas could play baseball. Forget about fielding and hitting, at the very least you use this guy as a pinch runner. All you need is one guy on base and Thomas will finish the rest by stealing second, third and then home. Actually, he could probably steal two bases before the catcher even gets the ball out of his glove.

    Just check out this video to see how fast the Oregon Duck truly is.

    If Thomas was to become a baseball player and stay in the league for 10 seasons, he could give Rickey Henderson's record of 1,406 steals a run for its money. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but he would be one of the premier weapons on the base path. 

    Thomas would be a treat to watch.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

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    There is nothing Johnny Manziel has done, that we know about, that he wasn't good at. This includes baseball, as there are reports out there that Johnny Football was actually close to being called Johnny Baseball.

    According to the AP, via Fox Sports, Manziel was a middle infielder in high school and looked up to players such as Ivan Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.

    ''I do miss (baseball),'' Manziel said. ''I would love to play. But I chose a different path. Football became center stage in my life when I always thought I would play baseball.''

    Manziel has taken on this larger-than-life form and has been phenomenal on and off the field. If football no longer treats him right, you have to believe Manziel could step back onto the diamond and put everybody to shame.

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

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    Watch the rope that Jameis Winston throws from right field and it will convince you that he is the real deal.

    Winston is the quarterback for Florida State and a relief pitcher and outfielder for the baseball team. His strong arm, speed on bases and gold glove ability has made him popular on campus. He is also known by MLB scouts, as he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round of the 2012 MLB draft.

    Florida State has produced a couple of decent two-sport athletes such as Deion Sanders and Charlie Ward. If Winston continues on the track he is on, he has the ability to be next in line with some of the greats.