LSU freshman courted by Twins will play football

Updated: August 15, 2006, 2:07 PM ET
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Jared Mitchell spent the summer talking to the Minnesota Twins about baseball.

He plans to spend the autumn catching footballs for the LSU Tigers.

Mitchell, a two-sport star at New Iberia's Westgate High School, was drafted by the Twins in the 10th round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft.

"They came at me hard but kept [the offer] around the same as the original," Mitchell said. "I had a number in my head, and they never got there. It's a great organization; things just didn't work out when we had a chance to do something. Who knows what will happen three years down the line?"

Mitchell is more than a week into camp with LSU, though the Twins still can sign him if they do so before he attends his first college course. LSU classes begin Aug. 28.

The Twins reportedly have offered him a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $700,000. Mitchell, who declined to talk about the details of the offer, said he hasn't spoken to them since just before he reported and that it's unlikely he will change his mind.

"Yeah, it really did come down to the last day," he said. "I heard from them every day through that last week. They were trying to get me to commit. I kind of went the other way and came here."

Although spending the summer trying to decide where he would go was tough, Mitchell is confident he made the right decision.

"I'm satisfied," he said. "It was a win-win situation. I'm not missing out on anything. I love it here; it's going to be a great ride."

Playing quarterback in high school, Mitchell accounted for 2,554 yards and 22 touchdowns rushing and passing. But his future was at wide receiver, where he was ranked by as the No. 10 pass catcher in the nation. He batted .506 with six homers and 31 RBI as a senior outfielder.

Mitchell said he has met and spoken to new LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri and looks forward to playing for him. He said he's cleared to start with the baseball team in January, though he also will participate in spring football drills.

In camp Mitchell has been catching passes with the ease he catches fly balls. Mitchell has drawn raves from Coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. The first four days of camp he caught several passes from quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, who also was impressed.

"He's a good kid with a good personality," Perrilloux said. "He has incredible hands. He's fast, quick and has good moves. He's picking the offense up real well. And he's an incredible baseball player."

Mitchell said he considered playing college football and pro baseball, but that might be stretching himself too thin.

"It was a possibility but nothing I looked at seriously," he said. "It's hard to do because there is so much offseason work to do. You don't see guys doing it that much anymore. My family and I had to go with what I felt in my gut."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press