When it comes to the MLB Draft, it normally takes the most invested of college baseball fans to follow it. Last night was a little different for LSU, as football fans were wondering if the final recruit of the 2019 class would make it to Baton Rouge, myself included.
Projected as a first-round pick by seemingly every baseball site, the top-15 cornerback Maurice Hampton entered the first day of the draft with a number in mind: $2.75 million. That was the money needed to be offered to skip the college ranks and join professional baseball. A couple of teams came in with offers of $1.8 million, the Hampton family didn’t budge, and a since-deleted tweet at around 11 p.m. Monday night from Hampton announcing his intentions got football fans giddy the day after his freshmen teammates arrive on campus (More on that in a bit). Those fans have two reasons to be ecstatic Hampton will be on campus:
He’s A Starting Outfielder
LSU has had a recent trend of high-quality outfielders, but the 2020 outlook was looking a bit shallow. Antoine Duplantis, who made history in the Regionals in passing Eddy Furniss for the career LSU hits mark, is a graduating senior. Zach Watson was the first name announced on the second day of the MLB Draft, getting taken by Baltimore in the third round, likely ending his LSU career after this season. Daniel Cabrera will return to man left field, while Giovanni DiGiacomo would be set to slide in it at right field. Paul Manieri had to be even more ecstatic than his Tigers one step away from Omaha with the knowledge his starting center fielder next season was going to make it to campus.
Hampton, who was an All-American by various services, including Perfect Game and Under Armour, hit .488 his senior season with 10 home runs to win Mr. Baseball in Tennessee. His speed, along with his read-and-react abilities, will have him as a memorable centerfielder due to his defensive prowess.
He’s a Real Good Football Player Too
Ranked as a top-15 composite cornerback and top-150 overall player, Hampton, who is slated for a move to safety at LSU, finished with over 1,800 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns to lead Memphis University School to a state title appearance and earning the Mr. Football award in Tennessee. Winning the baseball equivalent later on would make Hampton the first player in Tennessee to win both. His athleticism becomes quickly apparent in his highlights, and that prowess in the outfield will help translate to playing a ball hawking safety.
It takes a lot for someone to pass up the kind of money and professional opportunity that Hampton did, but it shows the maturity he possesses, something that will come in handy when it comes to the task of tackling on the field and tackling two sports. Somewhere, Chad Jones is windmilling his arm for Hampton to Baton Rouge to become the next two-sport star to don the LSU uniform.
Almost All The Freshmen Make It In
This past weekend was the arrival date for the 2019 football recruiting class, rounding out the 25 incoming freshmen to find their living arrangements and get things in order. Derek Stingley, Siaki Ika, Charles Turner and T.K. McClendon have been on campus as the four early entrees, leaving 21 more to arrive. Unfortunately, that number was two short as it was announced that linebackers Donte Stakes and Sione Fua would be arriving later in the summer. Both have school work left to do, but are expected to make it to campus.