Taiwan Easterling pursuing baseball

Updated: July 1, 2011, 9:58 AM ET
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

Florida State wide receiver and outfielder Taiwan Easterling has signed a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs and will not return to school, the Seminoles announced Thursday night.

"Taiwan and I talked and he's decided to pursue his career in baseball," coach Jimbo Fisher said in a prepared statement. "I totally support him 100 percent. He did an outstanding job for us.

"I would have loved to have him back, but I totally understand him pursuing his future endeavors. Baseball is the way for him to go and we wish him nothing but the best."

Easterling, a walk-on with the baseball team, was selected in the 27th round of Major League Baseball's amateur draft in June. He started 35 games this season and hit .296 with five doubles and 19 RBIs for the Seminoles.

Easterling went to Florida State on a football scholarship, though, and started 31 games. Last year, he had 43 receptions for five touchdowns and a career-best 12.8 yards per catch.

Easterling will finish his career with 108 receptions, which ranks 18th in school history, for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns. He led the team with at least one reception in 24 straight games.

Easterling's final Florida State reception was a 7-yard touchdown pass from EJ Manuel with 6:22 remaining in the Seminoles' 26-17 Chick-fil-A Bowl win over South Carolina.

He had one year of eligibility remaining in both football and baseball.

"We'll miss him as a Seminole," Fisher said, "but we're sure he'll have a good career in professional baseball."

Heather Dinich covers the Atlantic Coast Conference for ESPN.com.