Prospect Alford no longer playing football

Prospect Alford no longer playing football

Blue Jays outfield prospect Anthony Alford has decided to stop playing football and will pursue a career in baseball on a full-time basis.

Alford was taken in the third round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. At the time, he was viewed as a first-round talent but his stock dropped because of his stated preference to continue playing football.

Toronto decided to take a chance and reached an agreement that allowed Alford to play baseball in the summer and then football the rest of the year. He attended Southern Mississippi for one season and then transferred to Ole Miss but experienced only limited success.

Alford was the starting quarterback for Southern Miss in 2012 but then had to sit out all of 2013 after switching schools. He spent this season as a backup safety and punt returner until announcing earlier this week that his football career would be coming to an end.

"[General manager Alex Anthopoulos] came down and tried to talk to me," Alford told the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger in August. "He put some deals on the table and made it difficult on me."

Alford has spent parts of three seasons in the Blue Jays' Minor League system, but because of time restrictions he only has a limited number of at-bats. He's hit .234 with a .339 on-base percentage over 94 total at-bats, most recently playing for Bluefield in the Rookie league and Class A Lansing.

During Alford's senior season in high school, he hit .483/.569/.793 with four home runs while stealing 14 bases in as many attempts.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.