Ahmad Christian was a two-sport athlete in high school. He wants the same thing to be true at South Carolina.
The defensive back for Steve Spurrier's football team is working out with Ray Tanner's baseball team in the hopes of landing a final roster spot as a second baseman.
Christian knows it will be a challenge to make the team. He is at a disadvantage for two reasons: He missed fall baseball practice - a key time to make an impression on coaches - now joins an already crowded infield.
“He’s sort of a long shot at this point. But we’ve got two more weekends,” Tanner said Sunday. “If that guy can help me a little bit, I’m going to out him on my roster. He’s got a ways to go.”
He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 46th round of last year’s Major League Baseball draft. Christian and USC running back Shon Carson both expected to be working out with the baseball team right now, but Carson is recovering from knee surgery.
Christian played in the infield and outfield in this past weekend's scrimmages.
What are your goals these next few weeks?
I just come out every day and play my hardest. The ultimate decision is going to be up to coach Tanner, coach [Sammy] Esposito and coach [Chad] Holbrook. I just come out here to showcase my talent every day. Whatever they do with it, that's their decision.
Talk about playing baseball again.
It's been fun. Baseball was one of my first loves. I've always wanted to play baseball. That was part of the deal in coming out here.
Any hesitation to give baseball a try?
At first it was because I'm suppose to be competing for the starting spot next year at cornerback. It was a decision of if I wanted to come out here, during the spring I'd have to go back to football. There was a little hesitation but with the encouragement of the coaches I decided to give it a shot.
Who encouraged you?
Coach Holbrook and Coach Tanner told me to come out here and give it a swing, see what happens. Coach [Steve] Spurrier Jr. said to come do it. Him and Coach Ward said, “You've got the talent, just go make it happen.”
Have you had time to make an impression yet?
I've been making strides back every day. I'm starting to get my game back. I've been looking real good. I've still got improvement to do. I'm still knocking the cobwebs out.
Talk about the challenge of having so many infielders to compete with.
Every position is a challenge. You're always going to have someone to compete with. I'm just having fun and seeing what I can do.
How interesting is it to not be guaranteed a roster spot?
It's definitely a first, but I understand this is a great team. They won back-to-back national championships.
How did you think your first season of football went?
In fall camp I played real good, but I happened to be behind Stephon Gilmore. He's a great player. Coaches thought it would be best for me to redshirt instead of playing just a little bit. It was a great decision. I learned a lot from him and hope he goes on to do big things in the NFL.
Is it odd to not have Shon Carson out here at baseball like you two had planned?
Yeah, that's my man right there. I did a couple workouts with him for MLB teams for the draft. Everybody's cool out here. I know everybody on the team now. They're good friends just like Shon is to me.
What was your situation with the MLB Draft and deciding to come to college?
I was drafted in the 46th round. I had a knee injury and my draft stock fell. So I decided to come to college to play both for two great teams. I knew it would be hard coming and getting on this baseball team. I'm just out here trying to do my best.