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Red Sox prospect has eye on BCS title game

Jan 10, 2011, 12:00 AM EDT

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We don’t do a whole lot on college football here at HBT — for obvious reasons — but this story from MLB.com’s Peter Gammons was too good to pass up.

Gammons writes a nice profile on Red Sox prospect Brandon Jacobs, who committed to play football at Auburn before his senior year of high school in Liburn, Ga., before deciding – like many of us in this space – that baseball was his true love. Jacobs, who at 6-1, 225, was called a “tailback in a fullback’s body,” could have been playing behind Cam Newton in Monday night’s championship game against Oregon. Instead, he’ll be watching the game in television.

“I have no regrets,” Jacobs said. “I don’t miss [football]. I love baseball, I had a great experience playing in Lowell [New York-Penn League] this past summer, where the ballpark was packed every night.

“A lot went into my decision to sign with Boston. I thought a lot about the longevity of the career, the injury risk. I really thought baseball was what I was going to play in the long run, and why wait four years to get started. I know I have a long way to go, but I’m very pleased with the decision I made.”

Smart kid, though it probably didn’t hurt that he signed a deal in the $800,000 range, well above slot for a 10th round draft pick.

Another interesting part of Gammons’ story is that the Red Sox employ a consistent strategy of drafting multi-sport stars – players other teams are scared to waste picks on – then luring them to baseball with above-slot signing bonuses. They did it with Jacobs, as well as Casey Kelly, Ryan Kalish and Will Middlebrooks, all of whom had football scholarships in hand when they signed with Boston.

As far as Jacobs and his baseball skills go, Gammons quotes one scout as comparing him to a young Kevin Mitchell, raw but athletic. In 72 games in the low minors, he has a .242/.310/.404 line with six home runs and 31 RBIs. He has a long way  to go, but does not regret his decision to play baseball.

“I’ll be watching [Monday],” said Jacobs, “but, to be honest, I’m more excited about Spring Training. I’m a baseball player. I’d love to be there in Arizona, but I’d rather be playing in Boston someday.”

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  1. steveflack - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    $800,000 guaranteed vs the Indentured servitude of college football? Yeah, that’s an easy choice. Seriously, the sweetheart deal the NCAA has with the NFL and the NBA is just wrong. They get to use and abuse these kids who have no choice if they want to make a career out of the sport (at least in the US). At least in the MLB, they have the choice between college ball and the Pros.

    • JBerardi - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:34 AM

      It’s a horribly unfair system. The fact that Jacobs’ services are worth nearly a million dollars to the Red Sox really goes to show how exploited college athletes are.

      • Panda Claus - Jan 10, 2011 at 8:03 AM

        A great point considering the amount of money paid out to so many players that may never see the light of day in the majors. I think it’s safe to say that Cam Newton’s dad would also agree.

  2. frankvzappa - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    ive often badmouthed the system myself, not realizing how much the Red Sox capitalized on it…from now on i will just keep my mouth shut…

  3. jetersusedjersey - Jan 10, 2011 at 6:48 AM

    Such an unfair system.. Unless you think about 10 year olds working their fingers to the bone and dieing in sweat shops around the world. It is what it is. At least these kids have freedom, get a shot at an education AND a athletic career.

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