Former Dan Mullen signee Cord Sandberg adds UCF offer; UCLA on radar

Cord Sandberg, right fielder for the Clearwater Threshers, prepares to take the field before a 2016 game against the then-Tampa Yankees in Clearwater. [Times fles]
Cord Sandberg, right fielder for the Clearwater Threshers, prepares to take the field before a 2016 game against the then-Tampa Yankees in Clearwater. [Times fles]
Published July 6 2018
Updated July 6 2018

Former Bradenton Manatee QB Cord Sandberg, who signed to play for first-year Gators coach Dan Mullen in a previous football life, is pondering more substantial offers from other suitors this time around.

Sandberg, a lefthander who announced Wednesday he's retiring from baseball after a half-decade in the Phillies organization, said Friday he now has received a scholarship offer from UCF in addition to the one he holds from Auburn.

He also confirmed he has been invited to join the Gators and LSU as a walk-on, and received a similar invitation Thursday from new UCLA coach Chip Kelly. A four-star prospect and Florida's 33rd-ranked player (per the 247Sports composite rankings) coming out of Manatee, Sandberg said he intends to decide on a school by mid-August.

Sandberg said has not spoken with anyone from USF or FSU, which these days is coached by another former Manatee standout quarterback (Willie Taggart).

"I know for me, ultimately the best place for me to get my football legs under me and get in shape will be on a college campus," said Sandberg, who became engaged earlier this week. "So for me, this next month is all about talking to coaches and trying to make some visits and seeing where I want to go to school."

Sandberg, who signed with Mullen at Mississippi State before choosing baseball, is attempting to become the latest in a sequence of prominent two-sport athletes to successfully transition from baseball to football.

The list includes FSU Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke, Houston Texans QB Brandon Weeden and Jaguars 2018 first-round pick Hayden Hurst, who spent two seasons in the Pirates organization before flourishing as a tight end at South Carolina.

Related: Why Cord Sandberg's baseball retirement could help Florida Gators football

"It ended up being a pretty relatively easy decision to go back (to football)," said Sandberg, an outfielder who never made it past Double-A in the Phillies system.

"Just because I know if … I was 28 or 29 and ended up getting released and there wasn't anything on my resume but baseball, that wasn't really gonna sit well with me. So for me, I'm going back to get an education and kind of prepare myself for life after my playing career.

"And then at the same time I enjoyed playing football, I enjoyed playing quarterback, so I'm gonna do what I can to kind of pursue that as well and see what happens with that."

While UF — at first glance — would seem to have an inside track on Sandberg, who presumably could afford to walk on (he received a $775,000 signing bonus with the Phillies) and has a past relationship with Mullen, the 23-year-old said his options remain wide open.

"Obviously it's been on my mind on what I'm gonna do, and I'm gonna continue to kind of just do what I can to find the right fit for me," he said. "But as of right now, I'm really taking anyone that's interested in me seriously until I kind of sort out and weigh my options on what situation's best for me."