Manatee High School senior and MSU football commit Cord Sandberg could have a MLB/MSU football debate this summer. (BELOW) Alabama dual-sport athlete Trent Simpson verbally committed to MSU football last week.
July 31, 2012 2:39:21 PM
STARKVILLE - As Mississippi State University coaches Dan Mullen and John Cohen enter their fourth and fifth seasons in Starkville, their sports have yet to intersect on the playing field.
Sure....Cohen can be seen on the sidelines of Davis Wade Stadium for every Bulldogs home game and Mullen can be seen at Dudy Noble Field in the spring when he's not out recruiting. However, neither coach have had to share a player among their sports. In 2013, the two coaches may have to find a cohesive way to address this issue with prospects Cord Sandberg and Trent Simpson.
Sandberg, who committed to MSU football in June, will one of 40 high school baseball players in the country selected to take part in next month's Perfect Game All-American Classic game at Petco Park in San Diego.
"I was like, 'Do you really want me to play in this? I'm a football player. I like baseball, and it's fun,'" Sandberg told the Bradenton Herald last week. "It wasn't that I didn't think I can play -- I'm confident. ... But when that happened, I was like, 'I guess I can really do this.'"
The All-American Classic is scheduled for 9 p.m. Aug. 12 and will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network
Sandberg batted .358 with 22 runs and 17 RBIs last season for Manatee (Fla.) High School and started to reinsert himself in the conversation as a high draft pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft after taking part in the Perfect Game National Showcase last month in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn.
"He's super athletic," Manatee head baseball coach Dwayne Strong told Baseball America. "He's one of the better guys I've coached in 25 years of coaching. He's got a pretty good toolset."
Sandberg tripled and was clocked at throwing 87 mph from the outfield, according to Perfect Game's website.
"I wanted to play football in the SEC," Sandberg said in June when he committed to MSU. "That was important to me. I know what Coach Mullen has done with other quarterbacks and I wanted to be a part of that."
Sandberg helds 17 scholarship offers from such power programs as Auburn University, University of Arizona, Clemson University, University of Illinois, Louisiana State University, University of Mississippi and the University of West Virginia.
Sandberg's father, Chuck, was a first baseman at Florida and was drafted by the Red Sox in the ninth round of the 1979 draft. He spent three years in the minor leagues before a knee injury cut his career short. Now, Chuck Sandberg has been a football coach at Manatee for 25 years.
If Sandberg officially signs with MSU in February, MLB franchises will have to officially buy him out of his National Letter-of-Intent in the summer by going significantly over the slot value of a 2nd-5th round draft selection.
Scouts and coaches that The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog have spoken to this week says Sandberg could be considered "a million dollar prospect" and that kind of dollar figure could mean one of the better college football quarterback prospects never shows up on campus.
"When I was up there playing with those guys, I was able to get a couple of hits," Sandberg told The Brandenton Herald said. "It kind of made me realize I could do this."
Consequently, Sandberg said he may give professional baseball a shot if he's drafted high enough next year. That definitely changed the mindset (on the MLB draft)."
With the new MLB draft pool money format, instituted this past season, makes it more difficult but not impossible to execute large signing bonus.
On the other side, for a quarterback prospect, Mullen may be insistent that Sandberg work with the football team once he arrives on campus instead of playing baseball for the Bulldogs in the spring.
The only example of a player debating the dual-sport idea was MSU receiver/track sprinter O'Neal Wilder decided to quite football in 2010 to concentrate on track and field.
"He wanted to concentrate on track," Mullen said in 2010. "Some guys can play multiple sports. ... That's not for everybody. It's kind of a tough duty for certain guys."
Trent Simpson became the newest member of MSU's 2013 recruiting class Friday when he called the Bulldogs coaching staff to inform them he'd be accepting their scholarship offer.
The 240-pound defensive end from Oxford (Ala.) High School became the 13th player to pledge his services to MSU.
Simpson is projected as a two-star athlete under most of the recruiting websites and had 52 tackles in his junior season of high school while making it to the semifinal round of the Class 6A playoffs in the Alabama High School Athletics Association for head coach John Grass.
Multiple reports including 247sports.com have Simpson projected as a possible two-sport athlete at MSU that will include his participation on the Bulldogs baseball team in some capacity as well.
The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog have been informed MSU baseball assistant coaches have scouted Simpson on the baseball field and has skills with the bat that interested many college coaching staffs.
Simpson had football scholarship offers from Arkansas State University, Idaho State University and FCS school Jacksonville State University.
"I actually committed last week and my high school coach set up a press event at the school so I could have a bit of a day to myself," Simpson told BulldawgJunction.com. "I called and told Coach Mullen and Coach Collins. They were both very excited. I knew this was where I wanted to be and I am very happy to be a member of the Bulldog family."
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
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