BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall is in New York City this week, attending the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday where star defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah is expected to be picked early in the first round.
But it is another draft, which will take place June 6-8, that could also draw a lot of Mendenhall's attention. That's when the 2013 Major League Baseball draft will be held, and when Mendenhall could lose a potential starting cornerback.
Here's the story:
BYU's Jacob Hannemann, the two-sport star from nearby Lone Peak High, is currently shining for the BYU baseball team, after redshirting for the football team last fall and becoming a vital scout team player. Hannemann homered and doubled in BYU's 9-3 win over Utah on Tuesday night, and you can read more about that performance here.
After the game, Hannemann said there is a good chance that he will turn professional in June if he goes high enough in the MLB Draft.
"I would love to play football. I love both football and baseball," he said. "I will just have to make that decision when the time comes this year, going around to the draft.
I have kind of a little number in my head, and stuff like that, so we will see what happens, what the opportunity is, and we will go from there and pray about it, probably."
In other words, if a pro baseball team drafts him and offers a big enough signing bonus, Hannemann is gone.
I asked Hannemann to talk more about that "number" he has in mind.
"Just how much they are interested in me, and stuff. Will I progress far, and fast? You know, I love it here at BYU. I had a great time playing football with my brother [Micah, last fall]. That will be a great opportunity, too, when he comes back off his mission, to play with him."
Technically, Hannemann is on scholarship to play football, so baseball coach Mike Littlewood is getting the leadoff hitter and speedy center fielder for free, as it were.
Hannemann originally signed in the fall of 2009 to play baseball for BYU. But after a great senior season of football, he signed a football Letter of Intent because that meant a full ride, rather than a partial ride that most baseball players get.
"Yeah, they agreed to that before I left on my mission," he said. "I had the baseball scholarship first, and then I had a great senior year in football, and I love football. I still love baseball, so I asked if I could do both, and it happened. So I was blessed."
In June of 2010, Hannemann was drafted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals in the 48th round of the draft. He didn't sign, obviously, and went on a church mission to Little Rock, Ark., almost immediately after graduating from high school.
He has taken college baseball by storm this season, hitting .338 with four home runs and 19 RBIs, all while playing spectacularly in center field. He also has nine doubles, second on the team, and five triples, which leads the team.
"He is a kid who, whatever you say to him, he takes it in, and he will try to put it right into play, and it is fun to watch Jacob play," BYU baseball coach Mike Littlewood said. " It is a joy to watch him, and we may not have him much longer, so let's all enjoy it while we can."
That doesn't go for Mendenhall, though, because Bronco barely was able to enjoy him at all. And the football team is already thin at the cornerback position, with juco transfer Trenton Trammell going down the first week of spring camp with a major knee injury that will force him to sit out an entire year.
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