BYU baseball: Freshman star Jacob Hannemann could give up football to pursue pro baseball career

Published: Monday, May 13 2013 5:15 p.m. MDT

PROVO — BYU freshman Jacob Hannemann has a monumental decision to make in the coming weeks that will impact not only his future, but also two programs in the Cougar athletic department.

While Hannemann is enjoying an outstanding season on the baseball diamond for BYU, he is attending school on a football scholarship. The speedy Hannemann is playing so well, he is expected to be taken in the early rounds of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft June 6-8.

So, if Hannemann turns out to be a high-round draft pick and is offered a lucrative signing bonus, does he leave BYU — and his promising football career as a cornerback — behind?

Will he pass up on one dream to pursue another?

That's the dilemma Hannemann faces.

"If I stay here, I'd definitely fight for that starting spot in football," he said. "When the draft comes, we'll see what the opportunity is and see where I could be playing baseball for a long time. The possibility of staying here and getting drafted the next year is an option, too. I'll have to pray about it and weigh my options and see what the best thing is for me to do when the time comes."

While it's a tough position to be in, it's also a favorable one.

"These are problems," Hannemann said, "but they're pretty good problems to be having right now."

Speaking of problems, BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall was hoping to have Hannemann fill a void in his depth-challenged defensive secondary this fall.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Alpine did not participate in spring practices due to his baseball schedule. But when the spring depth chart was unveiled, Hannemann was listed as Mike Hague's backup at boundary corner.

The Cougars could certainly use Hannemann's speed and athleticism at the position. BYU lost junior college transfer Trent Trammell on the first day of spring drills to a season-ending knee injury. Another promising corner — Jacob's younger brother Micah — impressed coaches last fall, but he has left the program to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I would have loved to be playing with him and being out on the field at the same time as him," Jacob said of his brother. "He's going to be gone for the next two years. I thought I would be here for at least two years."

What does Mendenhall think about Jacob Hannemann's future?

"He's really lucky. He's got some great choices that lie ahead of him," the coach said. "I know that he'll be selected pretty high in the Major League Baseball draft. My hope is that he has the option to do whatever he wants to do. I'd love to have him play football. He is currently on a football scholarship. When you're on football aid, that's the aid that provides for this opportunity to play baseball."

Originally, BYU interest in Hannemann was because of baseball. Former Cougar baseball coach Vance Law offered him a partial scholarship while Hannemann was at Lone Peak High. Then, Hannemann turned in a stellar junior season on the football field, attracting the attention of football coaches.

When Mendenhall recruited the two-sport star, he offered him a full-ride scholarship and made a promise to Hannemann and his family that Jacob would have the chance to play both football and baseball for the Cougars.

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