The Atlanta Rangers … I mean, Arizona Rangers had two of the state’s top football recruits in the lineup for Monday’s season-opener. Arizona is the rookie-league team for baseball’s Texas Rangers.
The headliner was ex-Georgia Tech football recruit Jake Skole, who was drafted No. 18 overall. The Blessed Trinity graduate started in center field and batted third, collecting one hit in two plate appearances in the 7-4 loss. Ex-Central Florida football recruit Jordan Akins, who was drafted in the third round by the Rangers, entered the game late as an outfielder and was hitless in two plate appearances
Jordan Akins, who graduated from Union Grove High, and Jake Skole have a lot in common: Both are from the Atlanta area and gave up major-college football scholarships after signing with the Rangers. The Central Florida signee came to terms on a contract within hours after being drafted last week. Akins and Skole knew each other through summer baseball, and spent the first week in Arizona doing practice drills together.
“It’s a small world, I guess,” Akins said. “It’s pretty neat to be out here with someone else you know.”
Akins said Central Florida coach George O’Leary took the news well and “congratulated me.” Akins was expected to make immediate contributions at wide receiver and punt returner. He signed with Central Florida over numerous other offers, including both Georgia and Georgia Tech.
“Baseball has always been my first love,” Akins said. “When I was drafted that high, it was an easy decision.”