Locker Room

Greg Porter (left) and Quan Cosby were amateur football players the Angels
tried to convert into professional baseball players.

 

A recent article on the Orange County Register web site reported that Angels scouting director Eddie Bane is still in pursuit of University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker. According to the report, the Angels would let Locker play college football for one more year before he’d have to give up the pigskin for the horsehide (taking on the risk that Locker doesn’t get turned into a pretzel by some overly zealous linebacker).

The Seattle Times followed up by calling Locker’s father, who said there’s nothing new to report.

The Angels this decade have had a penchant for chasing amateur football players in the hope of converting them into professional baseball players. The results have yet to produce a Bo Jackson.

The most prominent example is Greg Porter, selected by the Angels in the 45th round of the June 2001 draft. Porter played at Texas A&M and in his first two Angels minor league seasons left his team early to report for football camp. The NFL’s Houston Texans signed Porter after he graduated, but he never made the team so his football career never materialized. Forced into a full-time pursuit of baseball, Greg took his six-year minor league free agency after 2007. He signed with the Yankees, was shipped to the Nationals, and then released at the end of 2008.

The Wichita Eagle published on July 17 a profile of Porter, who is now with the independent Wichita Wingnuts. The article quotes Greg as saying he might give football another try this winter.

Click Here to listen to a May 2002 interview I recorded with Greg in Cedar Rapids. You need Windows Media Player to listen.

Click Here to watch Greg hit a walkoff homer for Arkansas in June 2007. You need Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection to watch.

Quan Cosby was drafted by the Angels in the sixth round of the June 2001 draft, and gave pro ball a try for four years before leaving baseball to play college football at the University of Texas. In his senior year with the Longhorns, Quan became one of the more prominent wide receivers in the nation. He’s currently with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals who signed him as an undrafted free agent.

Click Here to watch Quan single for Cedar Rapids in August 2003.

The Angels selected D.T. McDowell in the 20th round of the June 2004 draft. He played 21 games for Rookie-A Mesa before he left to play quarterback as a freshman for Troy University. Apparently he couldn’t keep his grades up, and later signed with the National Indoor Football League in 2006. D.T. showed up again on the Angels’ Tempe rookie league roster a couple years back but never played and disappeared off the radar again. I’ve no idea where he is now.

And then there are the guys the Angels drafted but couldn’t sign.

The big name is Pat White, drafted by the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft as a quarterback out of West Virginia. The Angels drafted him out of high school with their fourth round pick in June 2004 but he went on to college. They selected him again with their 27th round pick in June 2007. The Reds selected him in 2008, and the Yankees in 2009, but they had no more luck than the Angels.

The Angels selected Khiry Cooper in the fifth round of the June 2008 draft, but he chose to go to the University of Nebraska where he plays football and he plays baseball.

And if you dig far enough back in Angels draft history, you’ll find they called the name of an outfielder by the name of Bo Jackson with their 20th round pick in June 1985. Bo turned them down and went on to win the Heisman Trophy with Auburn.

One they should be glad got away was bad-boy NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich, selected out of high school with their 43rd round pick in June 1988.

Let’s close by noting the success they had with a University of Nebraska punter named Darin Erstad they selected with the #1 pick overall in the June 1995 draft. He turned out okay.

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