Alan Matthews, who covers baseball prospects in the eastern U.S. and caribbean (man, what a job) as Associate Editor of Baseball America Magazine is certain that Israel Troupe will not be jilting the Dawgs for the pro baseball ranks. Troupe has said that if drafted high enough in the amateur draft he would forego football at the University of Georgia in favor of the minor leagues. The bus seats in the Rookie League are indeed a whole lot cushier with a wad of signing bonus cash in your back pocket, but Matthews doesn't think Troupe will be in a position to blow his cash in Peoria (or be accused of lollygagging) . Quoth Matthews:
"There's really no doubt whatsoever that Troupe is not going to be drafted high enough to sign with a professional baseball team. Israel Troupe is a very, very raw athlete with very limited baseball skills. Could he develop into a professional baseball prospect? Yes, maybe with a few years of college baseball experience at Georgia. But for now, he's not ready even at the rookie ball level."
I found Matthews level of assurance surprising given the number of times we've heard that Troupe might very well be trying to "Hit Bull, Win Steak" a year from now. Perhaps we should have seen this coming when Troupe moved into Athens with the other freshman football players earlier this week. This looks like (provisionally) good news because Troupe really is a phenomenal athlete, and you just cannot have too many of those around. If Matthews is correct, this may also impact our wide receiver recruiting for the coming year. While it is a long time until Signing Day 2008, getting Troupe in means that we may only sign 1 more receiver rather than 2 (or 2 rather than 3, depending on academic issues with a couple of recruits on the board). That would free up some space to use on offensive line depth, late developing prospects or the odd 5 star blue chipper who decides in January that he might want to visit Athens.
Troupe says that he still wants to walk on for Coach Perno, and that may happen, but something tells me that at some point he will decide that focusing on one sport is the way to go in the long run. And by the way, don't forget to vote early and often for Kyle in the hot blogger bracket.
Until later, Go Dawgs!!!