photo via twitter
One of the strangest signings in recent memory for Gus Malzahn occurred this summer when 23 year old Cord Sandberg decided to give football another try. Sandberg spent six years inside the Philadelphia Phillies organization before deciding to head back to the gridiron. Sandberg visited, and ultimately committed to Auburn over LSU and NC State. Originally a Mississippi State commitment in the 2013 recruiting class, the four-star dual threat QB chose baseball, as many multi-sport athletes do. According to sources, most schools offered him a spot as a preferred walk-on. Auburn offered a full ride. With senior Devin Adams receiving scholarship this week, Auburn now has five quarterbacks on scholarship. LSU, who also wanted Sandberg, currently has two.
“When [coach Malzahn] gave me a call maybe a month or so ago and said he would have interest in me, obviously the scholarship wasn’t a deciding factor at all because if the best situation had been somewhere else that’s what I would have done. But when I talked to him and kind of knew playing quarterback at Auburn was a possibility, it was obviously something I grew up watching. The Iron Bowl is something pretty special and I grew up watching a lot of them. To have the opportunity to potentially play in one of those games and really all of the games that Auburn has a chance to play in and the venues the SEC has, it was definitely something that I knew was going to be tough to pass up. When I visited we were (Sandberg and his fiancé) even more confident with the coaches and everything Auburn football is.”
This isn’t the first time that coach Malzahn has attempted to dabble with a baseball player turned football recruit. He narrowly missed on Russell Wilson when the NC State QB chose Wisconsin over Auburn in 2011. However, his time away from football was less than half the time Sandberg spent away from the game.
The addition of Cord Sandberg provides an interesting dynamic for Auburn’s quarterback room.
Jarrett Stidham is the unquestioned starter with Malik Willis being named the second teamer behind him. Joey Gatewood was highly heralded coming out of high school, but very little has been said about him since the spring A-Day game that saw him completely lost. Auburn will welcome in newly minted five-star legacy Bo Nix after this season.
What about the player, himself?
You can view his senior year highlights (2012) here on YouTube. But in terms of broad strokes, he reminds me a lot of Tim Tebow and not just because he is a left-handed quarterback from Florida. His high school stats show that he was a stat monster at Manatee. Over a three-year career, Cord Sandberg threw for over 7,500 yards and 79 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. This also included a “down” year where his pass attempts and completions went up, but yardage and touchdowns were down. However, his rushing attempts, yardage, and touchdowns more than made up for the production.
The Bradenton, Fl. native checks in at 6-2, 200 pounds, though he is reported at various places as being anywhere from there to 6-4 225 pounds. One thing that beat reporters haven’t reported on is the state of Cord’s physique or any extra training he could have afforded himself. This isn’t some kid fresh out of high school, nor a guy who hasn’t been playing sports for several years.
It would be interesting to know how being a professional baseball player has prepared Sandberg to be a football player and if he used any of his own money for player development. It would certainly change the narrative a little.
What are his strengths and how does he affect defenses?
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