Baseball or Football for Casey?

Florida signee Tate Casey is approaching one of the most exciting yet nerve-racking times in his life. In just about a month's time, Tate will learn where he falls in the MLB draft and then decide if he'd rather play pro baseball or college football for the Gators. Is he leaning one way or the other right now?

"I like baseball better because I can control the game but that's it. I really don't know what I'll do yet though. It depends on how high I'm drafted as well as who drafts me. Right now my intentions are to play football for Florida and walk-on to the baseball team," Tate Casey said.

What has he heard from MLB scouts on where he may be selected in June's draft?

"I've heard anything from first round to as low the fifteenth round. There have also been scouts that told me they might draft me as a "draft and follows" guy. What that means is that they sign you and then immediately send you to a summer league like the Cape Codd for instance. If you perform well enough, that team can sign you to a contract if they choose or they can send you to a Junior College until you improve. The drafting team owns your rights for 4 years and no other team can talk to you until that's over. It's another option I have."

Which MLB teams have been talking to Casey the most?

"I'd say the Phillies, Pirates, Marlins, and Braves are the most interested. It's a key who drafts me because I know the A's for example, just don't believe in drafting high school pitchers. On the other hand, I know the Phillies love big right handers and the Braves draft a ton of high school pitchers."

Is there a minimum round or monetary figure that Tate has selected to decide whether he'll be in Gainesville this Fall or playing minor league baseball?

"I haven't thought about the money aspect of it yet. Right now the 4th or 5th round is what I'm looking at. I've talked to Coach Zook and he says that if it's too good to pass up, then he'll understand."

With Ben Troupe's eligibility used up, Casey knows there is a definite opportunity to step in and contribute immediately at Florida.

"That's what makes this decision so hard. They need TE's and they love to throw the football. This is what I liked about Florida in the first place."

How has Tate's baseball season gone to this point?

"We won the district for the first time in 34 years with a 22-7 record. I'm 5-3 with around a 3.00 ERA. I throw in the low nineties consistently and I was clocked as high as 96 about a week ago."

Everyone the Longview standout talks with has an opinion on what he should do, and even his family hasn't came to a consensus just yet.

"My dad says I'm better at football and my brother says I'm better at baseball. I think my dad just says football because he played college football for Texas Tech and he likes it better," Tate joked.

As for now, everything is in a strict holding pattern for everyone involved. You can bet that there will be plenty of interest in where Casey goes in the draft from both baseball executives, and the Gator faithful. Who will win out in the end? Stay tuned.

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