Linton Signs with MLB

North Carolina freshman Ty Linton is departing Chapel Hill to begin his professional baseball career.

After he was selected back in June in the 14th round (No. 421 overall) of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Linton told InsideCarolina.com: "It's always been a dream of mine to play at Carolina. And I'm going to be at Carolina unless life-changing money comes my way."

That life-changing money was offered on Monday night.

Linton accepted a $1.25 million signing bonus from Arizona, which was able to offer first-round level money when it did not sign its first-round selection.

A 6-2 outfielder from Charlotte (N.C.) Christian, Linton signed with the Tar Heel football program earlier this year and had planned to play both football and baseball in college. He enrolled at UNC in June and spent the last two weeks practicing with the football team at linebacker.

"Our football program is disappointed to lose Ty Linton to the Arizona Diamondbacks," UNC coach Butch Davis said. We are always going to recruit talented student-athletes and Ty was a very good two-sport prospect in football and baseball. He had an opportunity at Carolina to pursue his education while playing both sports.

"He was making significant progress in training camp and I believe he had a bright football future. After meeting with Arizona over the last few days, Ty and his family felt it was in his best interest to pursue a professional baseball career. We wish him the best of luck."

Linton hit .448 with 10 home runs as a senior on the diamond at Charlotte Christian. On the gridiron, he was named all-state at linebacker, recording 12 sacks, while also compiling 542 yards and seven touchdowns on 118 carries at running back.

Arizona GM Jerry Dipoto said: "He wants the opportunity to find out how good he can be at this game if he focuses 100 percent of his attention on it and we're going to give him the opportunity to do that. In Ty's case, we have a guy who we believe is a five-tool player, a very athletic outfielder with major league upside and we get to put him in our system. We think a lot of his upside. Love the athlete, love the intensity he brings to the field. A great sign for us. We're thrilled to have him.

"Going into the draft, we felt like Ty was that kind of talent, but his signability was an issue because of the football. The reason he dropped to the 14th round of the draft was not indicative of the level off his talent, but more indicative of the fact that he was, I believe, the 14th-rated linebacker in the country. We feel like we got a top two round talent in the 14th round."

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