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January 3, 2012

Baseball a factor, but football Alford's first love

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SAN ANTONIO - Playable arm strength. Strong, projectable body. Accurate thrower.

Those are all words analysts use to describe U.S. Army All-American QB Anthony Alford of Petal (Miss.) High.

As a baseball player.

The No. 124 player in the Rivals250 is also a candidate to be drafted as an outfielder in Major League Baseball's June Amateur Draft. He is ranked as high as the No. 46 overall prospect by PerfectGame.org.

"I am aware of the draft and the possibilities," Alford said. "Right now my focus is on picking a college, first and foremost."

The dual-threat quarterback currently lists Ole Miss, Southern Miss and LSU as his three top schools and has taken visits Nebraska and Mississippi State.

With his last official visit scheduled for Jan. 27, a decision is not expected in the near future.

"I want to take my time," Alford said.

He also wants to make sure that baseball fits into the plan for both himself and all of his potential choices.

"I talked to all of the coaches about it," he said. "And none said it would be a problem for me to play both.

"They said that they would be able to work out a schedule for me to play."

Each of his leaders has a very good baseball program.

LSU has been to the College World Series five times in the last decade, winning it in 2009.

Southern Miss was in the College World Series in 2009 and has played in the NCAA tournament in nine consecutive years.

Ole Miss won the SEC title as recently as 2009.

"Baseball is important," he said. "My first love is football, but baseball is always there, too."

Alford is not the first U.S. Army All-American to have the opportunity to play multiple sports. Just last year, Gardner (Kan.) Edgerton quarterback Bubba Starling was in the same position.

Starling signed a letter of intent to go to Nebraska, but he eventually chose to sign a $7.5-millon contract to play outfield for the Kansas City Royals last summer after the Royals made him the No. 5 overall pick.

Alford may not have the same ceiling as Starling did on the baseball field, but his athletic ability will allow him to excel.

"I am lucky," he said. "I don't really think about it too much. I just want to have fun."



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