Red Sox sign ASU’s Magee, but he will play football first

The Boston Red Sox baseball organization will have a special interest in college football this season.   Specifically, those games involving Arizona State.

The Sox just signed ASU’s two-sport athlete, Brendon Magee, to his first professional contract.  In order to get the young man’s signature, the club agreed to let Magee play one more year of football for the Sun Devils.

Sorry, University of Arizona fans.

Magee was picked in the 23rd round by Boston, the third time overall he has been drafted by a Major League club.  The 5’11”, 230-pound outfielder was selected by Tampa Bay in 2008 and by Oakland in 2011.

But right now, the baseball decision is behind him and he’s focused on finishing out his ASU football career with a flourish.  The fifth-year senior had to sit out last season after popping an Achilles tendon in a mid-August practice.

So the fans in Boston will have to hold their collective breath for the next four or five months, hoping against another serious injury.  And then hope he picks baseball over football.

Before the 2011 injury, he was generally regarded as one of the best defenders in the Pac-12, and even nationally.  He appeared in 12 games in the 2010 season, starting in 11, and recorded an impressive 73 tackles – 13 in just one game, helping ASU to an overtime win against rival Arizona in Tucson.

Oddly enough, his play on the baseball diamond has paled by comparison.  He was a three-year letterman at ASU, but played in just 27 games and posted a sub-.200 batting average.

But he is receiving a lot of attention by virtue of the fact that there has only been one other ASU student-athlete in more than 40 years that has lettered in both football and baseball.  Mike Jones did it during 2006-08, but you have to go back to 1968 to find the next in line, which was a name that almost everyone still recognizes, J.D. Hill.

It’s important to note that Magee will also be able to throw his name into the NFL draft after the 2012 season.  If his play matches up to the expectations of new head coach, Todd Graham, he may even become an early-round pick.

His potential has already been recognized by the committee that will select the next Lott IMPACT Trophy, which recognizes the nation’s top defensive college football player.  He is on the watch list for the award, along with 41 other hopefuls.

ASU is using yesterday’s announcement of the contract agreement with the Sox to get a little extra media juice for its athletic program.  The school will have Magee and members of his family gathered in the head football coach’s office later this afternoon for an informal session to give the media a chance to ask questions and get background and film for feature pieces.

So, if you want more on this story, check your local newscasts tonight.

(Photo: ASU Athletics)