Though Jamal Golden is a legitimate professional baseball prospect, he’s focusing on college football. Specifically, Georgia Tech.
Golden was one of 22 players to sign with the Yellow Jackets last week.
One of the first questions asked at Tech’s Signing Day shindig was will Golden shun the Jackets and play professional baseball instead, just like Jake Skole did last year?
Golden said the money may be a deciding factor, but “I really have been focused on college, especially as I started getting all these awards. Not that I can’t go far in baseball, but it seems like football is my ticket.”
Golden was named Mr. Football in Alabama, as well as a Gatorade State Player of the Year and Old Spice State Player of the Year after producing 3,477 yards of offense and 37 touchdowns for Wetumpka.
He is projected to play defensive back for the Yellow Jackets, a decision that he’s fine with.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “Anywhere I can help the team out.”
As an outfielder, Golden hit .402 and scored 46 runs last season, according to maxpreps.com. If Golden doesn’t sign with a team in Major League Baseball, he said he will also play baseball for the Jackets. Assistant coach Charles Kelly said that coach Paul Johnson has said that if Golden keeps his grades up playing both sports won’t be a problem. Roddy Jones and Sean Poole played for both teams last year. Kelly credited baseball coach Danny Hall with helping convince Golden to sign with them.
Golden also seems more focused on football because he said he received just one scholarship offer to play baseball. He said most teams assumed that he wouldn’t sign with them because of football. His cousin, Reggie Golden, was selected in the second round of last year’s draft by the Chicago Cubs.
“He said it’s hard work,” Golden said. “They play baseball all day. It’s fun, but it’s hard at the same time.”
He said he’s looking forward to being reunited with Tevin Washington. They played together one season in Alabama. He’s also looking forward to working with Kelly and Johnson.
“They told me about the football program, that it was a family, that they don’t deal with selfishness,” he said. “I want to play with guys who are a part of the team, and not selfish. That was the kind of team I was on in high school.”
– Doug Roberson