A Summer of Watching and Waiting for Bubba Starling

It seems wherever you go lately, you hear something about Bubba Starling, the three-sport phenom who signed with Nebraska in February to play football. The five-star all-American quarterback is also considered an early pick in the Major League Baseball draft next month. Some consider him the best player eligible for the MLB draft.  Oh, to be in Starling's position, with two options that are difficult to turn down.

Do you go to Nebraska with a full-ride scholarship, with a chance to play quarterback for a top-tier program in front of 85,000 or more fans week in and week out?  Or do you sign a pro baseball contract, and be financially set for the rest of your life?

Oh to have to make that decision. Ever since it started to become clear that Starling could be a top pick in the baseball draft, many people have assumed that Starling would jump for the money.  That may be true.

That may not be, either.

I don't know that anybody knows just what Starling is going to do, and I think that's a perception that Starling is not going to discourage. With super agent Scott Boras "advising", the world is Bubba Starling's for the taking.  And as Husker fans, we may be pawns in a huge game of chess.  It's clear that Starling is going to be heading north to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take some summer classes and begin conditioning.  He'll work out with the quarterbacks and receivers in 7-on-7 drills, and bide his time until mid August.

You see, August 15th is likely the deadline to determine what Starling does.  Under MLB draft rules, if he's drafted, he has until August 15th to sign with the team who drafted him.  After that, he's off-limits to pro baseball for three years. And frankly, Starling has no incentive to do anything until then.

Until then, fans will watch and discuss.  Or if you are a recruitnik, fret, obsess, and worry.  What would happen if the Kansas City Royals select Starling?  Gardner, KS is just a 40 minute drive from Kauffman Stadium; you think there might be some pressure on him at home to sign? Or not sign, if somebody else drafts him.  If Starling doesn't sign, he'll be draft eligible again in three years, and who knows, his value might be even greater then.  Or he could suffer an injury and not be as valuable as he is now.

If he comes to Lincoln, will he play both football and baseball? And if so, how does he split his time, especially playing a position as critical to development time as quarterback. Certainly, Khiry Cooper's development has probably been hampered by playing both sports, though that doesn't matter if it's what he wants to do. And that's the core question that Bubba Starling needs to answer:  What do you WANT to do?

In the meantime, we'll have to watch and wait. Will some fans criticize Starling for stringing out his decision? Probably.  But what would YOU do? He might not know for sure, and there's no reason to decide now. And the money will only get better the closer we get to the deadline. Will Starling take away development time that could help another quarterback in our system this summer and in early preseason practice?  Possibly. Will he be a distraction? Maybe.

But Bo Pelini knew what he was signing up for when he decided to recruit Starling. It's a gamble that he decided to make. Now the question is, who'll win the Bubba Starling sweepstakes?

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