HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss football signee Anthony Alford announced Friday that he has elected to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays and will forgo his amateur status as a baseball player, while continuing his commitment with the Golden Eagle football program this fall.
"My original thinking heading into the draft was that I really wanted to play both football and baseball at the college level and to get my education," said Alford. "I felt extremely blessed that the Toronto Blue Jays selected me in the third round. After talking with the Blue Jays, and then with the staffs of both the Southern Miss baseball and football teams along with my parents, I thought it was in the best interests of my family to sign with the Blue Jays and begin my professional baseball career.
"I am excited that I will get the opportunity to compete for the Golden Eagle football team and continue my goal of working towards my college degree this fall."
Alford, who was taken with the 112st pick in this week's MLB First-Year Player Draft, is expected to report to the Blue Jays' Florida facility in Dunedin, Fla., on Saturday.
The outfielder batted .483 for Petal (Miss.) High School this past season, leading the Panthers to the Region 5-6A title and the second round of the playoffs. His stats included 11 doubles, 4 home runs and 31 RBI while tallying 39 runs and was 14-of-14 in stolen-base attempts.
He was named the Gatorade Mississippi Baseball Player of the Year for the 2012 season, which recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the field.
Alford has won the Gatorade Player of the Year honor three times after earning the state's football Player of the Year award in 2010 and 2011.