It’s the news that Dayton Moore and Kansas City Royals fans will not want to hear: those closest to Bubba Starling seem to be pointing him toward staying on as a freshman quarterback recruit at the University of Nebraska. The choice before him is to sign for at least $8 million (assumed) with the Royals as their first-round choice or try to catch on with one of the favorite teams to win the Big 10. Simply put, love of football or love of baseball (with great amounts of money attached).
The Royals offer could rise to $10 million in the end, but after a certain amount of money, it doesn’t matter. In other words, if Starling were going to turn down several million to go to college and play football at a major program, what difference would a few more million make? When you’re 18, it’s hard to feel anything but invincible and, even worse for Royals fans, it seems those around him are pushing him to follow his football dreams.
Bubba’s sister Jamie is quoted as saying, “I want him to go to Nebraska. We’ve never had that. We’re not KU fans. We’re not K-State fans. We’ve never had a team. Since he signed, we’re Cornhuskers. Let’s go. This is awesome.” His high school football coach, Marvin Diener, says the same. His parents are maintaining a supportive attitude throughout, but Starling is already on campus and entrenched with his teammates in off-season workouts. The draw might just be enough.
It’s hard to imagine a kid walking away from millions when it also involves doing something that he loves, but this is not without precedent. Just last season, Karsten Whitson left the millions that San Diego was offering on the table to sign with the University of Florida. These kids know that if they stay healthy and perform to expectations, the millions will be there now or later. And that’s the gamble the Royals took when signing Starling in the first place.