Tear Em Asunder

CSU Ramblings


Joined: 12/13/18 Posts: 350
Likes: 1184

It’s Jeff Samardzija Day for the Rocky Mountain Showdown

#21 multi-sport athlete.

Who was the best football football player ever to say no to the NFL and play baseball instead? Jeff Samardzija is certainly on that shortlist of candidates.

Samardzija was a rare three-time first-team all-state football selection in Indiana as a wide receiver for Valparaiso High School. He was a fine baseball player, too, eventually making all-state as a pitcher as a senior.

Notre Dame came calling, and Samardzija became perhaps that school's finest two-sport athlete in history. He was a first-team All-America football player his junior and senior seasons and finished as the Fighting Irish's all-time leader in yards receiving (2,593). In both of his final two years, he was among the three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver.

So Samardzija had more yards receiving than the likes of Tim Brown, Rocket Ismail, Tom Gatewood and, going way back, some guy named Rockne.

Samardzija was also immediately a dominant college baseball pitcher. He had options most athletes can only dream about.

But unlike a few others on this list, both earlier and later, he was not going to play two sports professionally. After the 2006 school year, Samardzija made his decision: baseball.

He was drafted in the fifth round by the Chicago Cubs, and the fact he almost certainly would have been taken much higher than that in the NFL draft made his decision perplexing.

It worked out. Samardzija has made upward of $150 million playing baseball, a career that includes an All-Star Game selection. And he is probably more likely to be able to walk without a limp later in life.

On deck: Ice, ice, baby.

Posted: 08/09/2019 at 12:02AM


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