Jordyn Adams chooses baseball over college football
Jordyn Adams may have been a first-round pick in the MLB Draft, but he still had an exam the next morning.
On June 4 a lifelong dream came true for Adams when he was selected in the first round (pick No. 17) by the Los Angeles Angels. After all the celebrating was done, Jordyn’s mom, Alexis, reminded the 18 year-old that he still had school the next day.
Despite having his future in Major League Baseball set, Adams still had to complete his classwork at Green Hope High School. Less than 24 hours after commissioner Rob Manfred made it official, Adams had an English exam to knock out.
“The final was pretty easy,” Adams said when asked if it was hard to focus. “I didn’t have to put that much thought into it.”
From the time his name was called on draft night, to the next evening, Jordyn did have to put thought into what he would do next. He had signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at UNC last December. He was also going to play baseball for the Tar Heels. After being drafted, he was faced with playing college football and baseball, or chasing his dream of playing major league baseball. It was time to make his first, real grownup decision.
"I looked more into my development as a player more than the decision of baseball or football," Adams said on Thursday. "I want to get better and become the best player that I can in whichever one I chose. Me being picked in the first round shows that I was a high priority for the organization and I was a huge investment. I just felt like I could reach the ceiling of my baseball career if I took that path. Once I figured out that was the case, I wouldn't say it was easy, but it was kind of easy."
The next couple of days after the draft were “pretty hectic” but things have slowed down for Adams, who graduated from Green Hope on Wednesday. On Sunday he and his family will fly to California. On Monday he will take a physical and on Tuesday he and his family will go to an Angels’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks to get the full game day experience.
Adams is expected to sign his contract after he completes his physical exam. The signing bonus for the 17th spot is expected to be around $3 million dollars, but the Angels could pay Adams above the slot. After his trip to California, Adams will head to Arizona, where the Angels have a place set up for him to start his next chapter.
Jordyn’s mom, Alexis, said being a first round pick out of high school, made the decision to forgo college a “no-brainer.”
“First round, even kids in college, that’s their goal,” Alexis said. “So to have that opportunity as a high school player, that just took us over the top with our decision.”
Between school, training and graduation, it really hasn’t sunk in yet to Adams that he is a professional baseball player. The good news -- confirmed by Alexis -- is that Jordyn is pretty independent and has been preparing for life on his own. Either way, he was leaving the nest this summer. Jordyn can hit a baseball, run and catch a football, but his life skills -- cooking and doing laundry -- will be put to the test sooner than he expected.
“I learned how to cook when I was younger,” Jordyn said. “I was always in the kitchen playing around, so I took after her (mom). I know how to do (laundry) and all that.”
While most of his peers have a few months to spend with family before heading off to adulthood -- college, military, workforce -- Jordyn has just a few days to spend with love ones. He has family in town from Mississippi who came to his graduation. Before he gets on his flight with his parents and brother, Jordyn doesn’t have big plans before he leaves North Carolina for good.
Jordyn’s dad, Deke, who coaches the defensive line at UNC, at one time thought he would be seeing his son every day for the next 3-4 years. Deke never coached Jordyn, other than giving him a few pointers on the baseball diamond during his free time, and he wouldn’t have been his coach at UNC, but they would have at least constantly been around each other daily. After celebrating Jordyn getting drafted, reality set in.
“It was a little bittersweet,” Deke Adams said. “Obviously, I want what’s best for him, so I was ecstatic that he has this opportunity, but at the same time, in the middle of all that hoopla that night it kind of hit me that I’m not going to see him everyday. That was a little tough, but I’m excited for him and the path that he’s taken.”
Jordyn did add that he’s still a Tar Heel at heart. He was at UNC recently and still wears a UNC band around his wrist. He talked about continuing his education online once he settles into the routine of professional baseball, but that’s not something his mom wants him to worry about during his first season. Not that she has too many worries about her youngest son. She has no fears of sending him off on his own, realizing when Jordyn was in middle school he could make it on his own.
“I would say if Jordyn wanted to go to the University of Alaska I would let him go, because he’s always been independent,” Alexis said. “I had to learn how to step back years ago and allow him to do it. He’s ready, he’s going to do well.”
Alexis, who said she shagged fly balls for Jordyn in the outfield as he worked out for scouts, admitted that it was Deke, and not her, who shed a few tears when they dropped off their oldest son, Jaylen at college.
Deke, who will hit the ground running with UNC football when they return from Arizona, wouldn’t say if would cry this time, but he’s already marked the calendar for a reunion with Jordyn on the west coast. The Tar Heels’ football team open the 2018 season at California on Sept. 1.
“I hadn’t even looked at the distance and all that, but that’s the first (game) and he’ll just be finishing up,” Deke said. “We’ll see if it matches up.”