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And no, I didn't forget that football name ...

That new football name? It's actually an old football name. You might have heard that former Armwood fullback Kalvin Bailey is trying to get into USF this fall and is finishing classes at Hillsborough Community College to make that possible. That's true, but he's not the new/old name -- it's his old teammate from Armwood, former defensive back R.J. Anderson, who signed with the Bulls in 2005 but ultimately chose pro baseball after the Texas Rangers picked him in the ninth round that summer.

Anderson, who got a $235,000 signing bonus according to Baseball America, played three seasons with the Rangers -- BA tagged him as the fastest baserunner in the Rangers' farm system in 2006. You'll see him referenced as "Ronnie Anderson" a lot in his baseball days. He played nearly all his career in the Arizona League, but after hitting .286 as a rookie, he saw his average drop to .210 in 2006 and .235 last season. The Rangers released him in March, and he hasn't latched on with another team in the month since; he's due to return home to Tampa from Arizona on Friday.

I talked with Anderson on Wednesday about the possibility of him returning to USF, and all he would say was that it was "an idea" he would be exploring. He'll meet with USF's football coaches in the next few weeks to see how he might fit in with the Bulls. Former Armwood baseball coach Joey Fernandez said his understanding was that Anderson's contract with the Rangers included a clause that the team would help pay for the cost of his college education, suggesting he could join the Bulls as a walk-on.

Anderson hasn't played football since 2004, when he had eight interceptions and earned all-state honors for the second year in a row. He had seven picks as a junior, and his speed is unquestionably elite. The spring he was drafted, he recorded a 60-yard time -- that's baseball's equivalent to football's 40 -- of 6.27 seconds, then the fastest recorded time in the history of the Perfect Game Showcase. For reference, Red Sox phenom Jacoby Ellsbury also has been timed at 6.27 seconds.

It might be another month before we know whether Anderson will return to football. His baseball career doesn't affect his amateur status for football, and at 21, he still has a pristine five-year window of eligibility, so he could even redshirt this fall as he gets acclimated to football again. His speed and potential make this an intriguing possibility we'll continue to update as it unfolds this summer ...

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:22pm]


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