Will Georgia first-rounder turn down big buck$$ from LA Angels to play for Florida State? What??? (UPDATED)

It would take a lot of guts (and some would say, a lack of smarts) to turn down a $1 million signing bonus from a major-league baseball team. We’re not endorsing for high school baseball players to go pro over college, but that’s what happens with the majority when they are drafted in the first round. Click here to read Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall on HS first rounders.

What is your advice for Kaleb?

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Back to the story: Florida State has never had a baseball recruit drafted in the first round and report to college, according to Tallahassee.com.

Cook High’s Kaleb Cowart, drafted No. 18 overall by the Los Angeles Angeles, could be the first to bypass seven digits to be a Seminole.

Why do I say that? It’s just a gut feeling I’ve had about Cowart after talking with him over the past month — even before the MLB Draft. A few major-league scouting directors apparently felt the same way, causing speculation that Cowart “fell” to No. 18 because of “signability” (reportedly seeks $3 million bonus) and his desire to play third base rather than pitch with his 97 mph fastball.

There are a few things favoring FSU with Cowart: It’s his dream school and a short drive from his hometown of Adel, allowing friends and family members to attend games. FSU has one of the nation’s most successful programs, playing in the College World Series on Saturday. Cowart seems to really value the “college life experience.”

Working against FSU is that Cowart is not likely to be drafted any higher in three or four years. Not impossible, but unlikely. The Angels have also scored points by making it clear they support his desire to be a position player rather than pitch.

The Angels have to be a little nervous after Cowart went to three days of FSU orientation this week. ”It was a blast,” Cowart told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. “I enjoyed every bit of it … It lets you see what you would be missing out on with the college life.”

Cowart also got to visit with Florida State coach Mike Martin before the team departed for Omaha. “It went good. We just talked about the draft and stuff like that. He understands, if it works out with the Angels. If not, he would be more than happy for me to come to school. We’re just going to wait and see how it goes.”

The $3-million Man? (Gatorade)

The $3-million Man? (Gatorade)

And how is it going with negotiations between Cowart’s advisors and the Angels? Which way is Cowart leaning? “It’s still up in the air right now. We’re not leaning one way or the other. It’s split down the middle.”

Could Cowart’s affection for FSU be a negotiating ploy? After all, that tactic is commonly used by high school players to get more zeros on the bonus. But I don’t get that same feeling about Cowart. I really think he is going to let things work out as they may, whether it means FSU or LA.

The Angels have an Aug. 16 deadline to sign Cowart, who has shut down his baseball for the summer while doing light workouts to stay in shape.

My guess? I feel like Cowart is about to make some FSU history.

What will Kaleb do? Please make YOUR prediction below, and give your reason for it.

  • Related: Georgia Tech’s No. 1 target for its 2012 recruiting class (click here)
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  • 16 comments Add your comment

    GoldJacket

    June 19th, 2010
    4:34 pm

    Take the money and run!

    Westcoast Techie

    June 19th, 2010
    4:50 pm

    Kaleb, I’m a native Georgian and a graduate of Ga Tech who now lives in Southern California. I’ve been an Angels fan for quite a while now. If you decide to sign with LA, you couldn’t join a better organization. They have a dedicated owner, good management and great coaches. They are always in contention in the AL West. One cronic void in their line-up has continually been at third base. They haven’t had a real third baseman since Troy Glaus. The situation is perfect for you. And who wouldn’t love living in Southern California?

    Buzz29

    June 19th, 2010
    4:53 pm

    Education last a lifetime, even from FSU. Baseball will be over in 20 years with absolutely no guarantees.

    Good luck to the kid no matter what fork in the road he takes.

    Go Jackets!

    Poorbrave

    June 19th, 2010
    4:58 pm

    Kaleb should take the Money and play MLB. If he turns it down and gets hurt he has lost it all. Take the money and bust your A@@ to be the best MLP you can. God Bless.

    bleed red

    June 19th, 2010
    7:14 pm

    U will never see a million dollars at fsu there are to many educated people with out a job look at the unenployment rate. u can allways get a education while u play pro ball

    Ga. Baseball

    June 19th, 2010
    10:21 pm

    A kid can’t turn down what he is going to be offered. Be smart and invest well and he will never have to work another day in his life.

    Techie Nerd

    June 19th, 2010
    11:24 pm

    Kid should go to FSU and drown himself in punani and have at least a little of the college life before he becomes a multimillionaire in the professional world, it will be the best time of his life. And if he is as good as people say he could make himself into a top 10 pick and sign for a lot more money!!

    MikeP

    June 20th, 2010
    12:12 am

    Sign the pro contract and invest the money wisely. If pro ball doesn’t work out you’ll be able to afford to pay your way through college later, and live in good style while you are getting educated.

    Lilburn Dawg

    June 20th, 2010
    2:03 am

    Who wouldn’t love living in Southern California??? Nobody wants to live there. The whole state is going broke. Plus, as we all know, one of these days it’s going to fall off into the ocean!!

    south

    June 20th, 2010
    10:05 am

    Sounds like FSU has offered a larger signing bonus.

    t

    June 20th, 2010
    10:10 am

    If they ain’t going to an in-state school – screw em – we don’t care. Get us some news on the home state heroes!

    Talatigi Techi

    June 20th, 2010
    10:57 am

    West Coast Techi – And who wouldn’t love living in Southern California? If you were an auto insurance claims adjuster and heard the tall tales of California drivers, then you would prefer to live in the S.E. But back to baseball this Georgia boy Cowart will do well in where ever he suits up.

    Insider

    June 20th, 2010
    9:02 pm

    What most people do not understand the opportunity to go pro and sign a million dollar bonus may not be there after a few years of college. How many college graduates can earn a million dollars just by signing your name. Many pro teams now also agree to pay for a college education, if these young men sign. It would not be wise to go to college. If you invest your signing bonus wisely and use the money pledged by the pro orginization to get your education, you can have the best of both worlds. Sign Kaleb!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Hornets, Noles and Angels.

    Taylor Wooten

    June 21st, 2010
    1:48 pm

    Take the dang money!

    Its tough out here. And a college degree/education can be way overrated. Trying earning a couple of million dollars the old fashioned way. See how that works out for you.

    rob anderson valdosta

    June 25th, 2010
    9:35 am

    my son played a couple of years of youth ball with this young man.I have not had the pleasure of his or his parents’ company ever since.I can remember being struck by how humble,grounded,and mature he was back then. I am really hoping this is a negotiating ploy.I would love to see him get top dollar and go on to prove to everyone that sometimes hardworking nice guys do finish first.

    marty

    July 31st, 2010
    3:50 am

    Guy, you’re reporting what you want to happen rather than what will happen and in spite of the very facts you cite. The Angels have already offered 1.5 million and will go higher if they have to, supposedly to 2 million. In a sport where you’re one arm injury away from being done, how can Caleb turn down that financial security? That’s enough money for tuition for 50 lifetimes. A large point of of college other than delaying getting a real job is the ability to earn more… this takes him past Go and he collects over 1.5 million in a recession. What’s the upside of holding out for another draft, going 4th over 18? And if he tanks his first year what does he do if he falls to the second or third round? The faster he gets playing, the faster he gets to the majors and salary arbitration and the really big money. Why give those earning years away to college? He was over the moon excited to be drafted by the Angels on draft day, so what’s changed? Uh, it’s called negotiation. The Angels are a winning franchise, it’s L.A., so whatever campus girls you think you have, believe me he has covered at UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, Long Beach State etc, not to mention the groupies in every every city he’ll be playing. He goes to an organization that needs a third baseman and with an opportunity to move through the system quickly. If for some reason he washes out, back to school he goes and with enough money to fund every keg party on campus.