June 7, 2013 11:24:51 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Cord Sandberg said after he was drafted it wouldn't take very long after he was drafted to decide which sports he would play.
Sandberg, a MSU football signee, has declined the National Letter-of-Intent to play quarterback in the Southeastern Conference after being selected in the third round by the Philadelphia Phillies Friday. Sandberg, who was selected 89th overall, will receive a $775K signing bonus plus the monetary equivalent of a full scholarship to Mississippi State, where he was committed to attend college. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound athlete signed with Mississippi State in February but still hadn't fully decided what sport he would commit to after seeing his professional baseball draft stock skyrocket with a productive summer showcase season.
"If he goes really high, if he goes in the first round of the baseball draft, hey, I'm happy for him, proud for him," Mullen said on national signing day. "If he doesn't go in the first round, well, that's a great situation, too, (because) he gets to come play quarterback in the Southeastern Conference. I don't think there's a bad ending to it either way."
According to Baseball America, the assigned pick value for the No. 89 overall selection was $593,400 so Sandberg received at least $181,600 more than the slot price.
Sandberg, who is being advised by Excel Sports Management, confirmed to The Dispatch MSU Sports Blog Friday that he had informed Mullen of his decision earlier that day.
"Yes I have (agreed to sign with Philadelphia)," Sandberg said in a text message response Friday. "I hope to sign tomorrow."
Sandberg ranked 40th on Baseball America's Top 500 draft prospects as the scouting services all project him to have good power from the left side of the plate and has enough speed to be a defensive asset in the outfield. ESPN.com, Scout.com, and Rivals.com consider the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Sandberg a four-star recruit. He also was the 45th best football player regardless of position in the state of Florida, and was named to the Rivals 250 list. As a senior, Sandberg was 186 of 265 for 2,674 yards. He also had a 34-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and rushed for 611 yards on 99 carries (10 touchdowns).
On the diamond, he is four-year starter in center field and left-handed hitter for the three-time district champions. Sandberg played in the 2012 Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego. Baseball America rates him the 46th-leading professional prospect of 2013.
"Cord is a great athlete, and there's no doubt he'll be scouted hard by every team during his senior season of high school," another National League scout said in Feb. 2013. "Cord's upside and potential in professional baseball is too high to ignore."
Sandberg's father, Chuck, was a first baseman at the University of Florida and was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the ninth round of the 1979 MLB draft. He spent three years in the minor leagues before a knee injury cut his career short.
"He and his father have been open and honest with us about his high interest in signing if he's selected high in the draft," a National League scout told The Dispatch in February.
Sandberg's decision leaves MSU with just with three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster (returning starter Tyler Russell, redshirt sophomore Dak Prescott, and freshman signee Damian Williams).
The good news for MSU football fans is according to NCAA rules, since Sandberg isn't agreeing to have the Phillies pay for his education and just adding the cost of the scholarship to the signing bonus in the form of cash, then he remains eligible to possibly play football for MSU if he so chooses to do so in future years.
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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