Top 4 College Football Recruits Who Could Be Selected in the 2014 MLB Draft
A generation ago, athletes played multiple sports as a way of life. The only thing that changed was the season, as football bled into basketball, which bled into baseball, which bled back into football.
Modern times have brought a trend of specialization. Today, young athletes are far more likely to pick one sport early on and stick with it, playing on travel teams, AAU squads and training in the offseason rather than broadening their horizons as multi-sport athletes.
However, a number of talented athletes have continued the tradition of multi-sport success.
Russell Wilson excelled at baseball and football at N.C. State. He even spent time in the minor leagues, with the Colorado Rockies, before transferring to Wisconsin and being drafted by the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. He also spent time this spring in the Texas Rangers’ minor league camp.
Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija turned down a shot at an NFL career to focus on a baseball career, and he is now a mainstay of the Chicago Cubs’ rotation.
2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston excelled as a member of the Florida State baseball team this spring, compiling a 1-0 record with seven saves, a 1.08 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 33.1 innings as the Seminoles’ closer.
With the 2014 MLB draft set for this week, a handful of college football recruits are on a similar track.
While some will be early round selections and others later round choices, these players could have an interesting choice to make, or at least a nice footnote for their biographies.
Monte Harrison: Nebraska
Three years ago, Nebraska signed a talented football prospect from the Kansas City metro area and was forced to play the waiting game (unsuccessfully) after Bubba Starling was picked in the MLB amateur draft.
This week, Cornhuskers fans will endure a similar (and, they hope, more fruitful) wait with another highly touted Kansas City-area prospect.
Lee’s Summit receiver Monte Harrison is a 4-star prospect, per 247Sports, who scored 28 touchdowns last fall for Lee’s Summit West High School, signing with the Cornhuskers in February.
However, he is a three-sport athlete who excels at football, basketball and baseball. He is considered a late first-round selection in this week’s draft and is drawing interest from hometown Kansas City (who picked Starling and signed him to a multimillion dollar signing bonus in 2011) and Tampa Bay, among others.
Harrison told the Kansas City Star that he knows he will have to make a decision soon.
I have to be a kid that grows up fast because making big decisions — especially with everyone in your ear telling you this or telling you that — means you have to learn on the fly. It’s ultimately my decision what I really want to do in life.
He has been invited to the MLB draft in Secaucus, N.J., and will have a big choice to make in the coming weeks. Nebraska fans will be hanging on his every move.
DeShone Kizer: Notre Dame
DeShone Kizer is a truly special athlete. The Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic athlete is a three-sport star, excelling in football, basketball and baseball. The 6’5”, 218-pound quarterback led Central Catholic to an Ohio state basketball championship as a junior and signed with Notre Dame as a 4-star prospect and the nation's No. 12 pro-style quarterback, per 247Sports.
He is a dual-threat quarterback who can run and throw with ease, fitting in the mold of current Fighting Irish starter Everett Golson.
He also plays center field for Central Catholic’s baseball team.
Kizer would not be expected to be an early round selection, but major league teams have been known to take fliers late on players with his unique blend of athletic talent.
He would be unlikely to sign with an MLB team, but do not be stunned if you hear his name called late in the draft.
Patrick Mahomes: Texas Tech
Pat Mahomes carved out a nice Major League Baseball career for himself, playing for six different teams and going 42-39 from 1992-2003. Now, his son, Patrick Mahomes, has a chance at a similar career, unless he chooses a different route.
Patrick Mahomes has signed with Texas Tech as a quarterback. The younger Mahomes had a very impressive senior season at Whitehouse (Texas) High School, throwing for 4,619 yards with 50 touchdowns against six interceptions, while also rushing for 940 yards with 15 touchdowns. He also punted, averaging 38.7 yards per kick on 27 boots.
He was named the Texas state football Player of the Year by the Associated Press.
He stands 6’3”, 180 pounds and is rated as the nation’s No. 21 pro-style quarterback, a 3-star prospect per 247Sports.
However, Patrick is also a talented pitcher/outfielder: he hit .500 this season and also pitched a no-hitter, striking out 16 batters. He boasts a 93 MPH fastball.
He will have the opportunity to play football and baseball at Texas Tech, but could be selected in the first five rounds of the draft and have a serious decision if a large signing bonus is offered, he told MaxPreps.com.
If the offer is right, I could go that way. I know now right at this moment my plan is to play quarterback and play and pitch at Texas Tech. I look forward to that. But there's still a lot of talk and possibilities. I have to remain open.
Christian Martinek: Oregon State
Christian Martinek is a 6’5” left-handed flamethrower who is attracting plenty of attention from professional scouts this spring. He was also a first-team All-State defensive lineman in Oregon, who excelled last fall for Portland's Jesuit High School, even while recovering from a strained elbow which ended his junior baseball season prematurely.
He has been admitted to Oregon State, where coaches have told him that he can pursue dual-sport status, which has been his dream. He is rated as the nation's No. 59 weakside defensive end and a 3-star prospect per 247Sports.
He told The (Portland) Oregonian that he plans to attend college, but that could change “if the money is right.”
He could be an excellent two-sport contributor for the Beavers, but if he is selected early on in the MLB draft, he will have a choice to make that could leave OSU fans nervous.