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June 8, 2010

Akins to pursue MLB dream

Major League Baseball has claimed one of UCF's top football recruits.

Jordan Akins, who was a third round selection by the Texas Rangers in Tuesday's draft, said he hasn't completely abandoned the idea of playing college football, but he intends to first pursue his dream of playing professional baseball.

Akins, a two-sport star at Union Grove High School in McDonough, Ga., signed a National Letter of Intent with UCF's football program in February, spurning an offer from the in-state Georgia Bulldogs.

A standout wide receiver and centerfielder, he was looking to play both sports at UCF unless he was drafted high enough by an MLB team. The Rangers took him with the 103rd overall pick in third round.

"I'm going to pursue my dream and play ball," Akins said when reached Tuesday afternoon. "I really thought I would be drafted by Oakland or Philly, but I knew the Texas scout had come to a lot of my games. Just from talking to different people, I knew that I would go in the top five rounds."

Akins said it was a special moment when he and his family learned he was being drafted that high.

"The Rangers called me, but I was watching on the internet too," he said. "I was very excited. It's a lot of pressure off my back. I was with my family and everybody was real happy."

A strong showing this past season as a senior - Akins batted .484 with 11 home runs - likely elevated his draft stock even higher.

"I went to some Major League workouts that showed me where I was," Akins said. "I was with Niko Goodrum and Reggie Golden (both 2nd round picks) at some combines and that showed me where my talent was and where I stood. I knew it was top five."

Akins officially signed with the Rangers Tuesday afternoon. His signing bonus is said to be in the $350,000 range and he acknowledged the Rangers would also pay for his college education.

While he's focused on baseball for now, the possibility still exists Akins could one day return to play college football at UCF. Quincy Carter (Georgia) and Chris Weinke (Florida State) are among the players who came back to football after stints in the minor leagues.

While he's highly touted as a baseball star, his potential is unlimited in football. He's been compared to Miami Dolphins superstar and UCF alumnus Brandon Marshall, who recently signed the biggest contract for a wide receiver in NFL history.

"If I don't think I'm developing in the minors, I feel like I'm not getting better and I'm not going to make it to the Majors, then I do want to go back to college and play ball," Akins said.

In any case, Akins is excited about the future. He flies to Arizona next Tuesday to take part in workouts before being assigned to one of the Rangers' minor league affiliates.

"This is a dream come true," Akins said. "I've been thinking about this since I was a little kid. I always used to watch Andruw Jones with the Atlanta Braves and I just idolized him thinking that could be me one day."







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