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Anthony Alford appeases Alex Anthopoulos; abandons attempt at academics and athletics, boots pigskin, picks baseball

Anthony Alford with Southern Miss
Anthony Alford with Southern Miss

After two years of thinking about it, Anthony Alford has decided that playing professional baseball full time with the Blue Jays is better for him than splitting time between that and playing college football at Ole Miss. According to Hugh Kellenberger of The Clarion-Ledger, the Blue Jays' third-round draft pick from 2012 has left the University of Mississippi football program after receiving an offer from Alex Anthopoulos to focus on baseball. The terms of the offer have not been released publicly.

Alford, being a very athletic, toolsy outfielder, is exactly the type of prospect that Anthopoulos loves, so he was offered a large $750,000 signing bonus plus was allowed to attend Southern Mississippi to play football. After a poor year as Southern Miss's quarterback, he was arrested and charged with "conspiracy to posses a firearm on campus and hindering prosecution" and subsequently transferred to Ole Miss. A redshirt in 2013, he was tapped as the team's backup safety this season and found playing time to be scarce.

Despite spending his first three seasons stuck between two spots playing just 25 professional baseball games, Alford is still rather young, having turned 20 this summer. This year he appeared in 14 games, splitting time between the Bluefield Blue Jays and the Lansing Lugnuts. After his time with the Lugnuts, he was reportedly approached by the Blue Jays general manager to make baseball his sole sport, but opted to give football one last try.

Read more about Alford here in this piece by Scott C.