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LSU freshman courted by Twins will play football

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Jared Mitchell spent the summer talking
to the Minnesota Twins about baseball.

He plans to spend the autumn catching footballs for the LSU
Tigers.

Mitchell, a two-sport star at New Iberia's Westgate High School,
was drafted by the Twins in the 10th round of the Major League
Baseball first-year player draft.

"They came at me hard but kept [the offer] around the same as
the original," Mitchell said. "I had a number in my head, and
they never got there. It's a great organization; things just didn't
work out when we had a chance to do something. Who knows what will
happen three years down the line?"

Mitchell is more than a week into camp with LSU, though the
Twins still can sign him if they do so before he attends his first
college course. LSU classes begin Aug. 28.

The Twins reportedly have offered him a signing bonus in the
neighborhood of $700,000. Mitchell, who declined to talk about the
details of the offer, said he hasn't spoken to them since just
before he reported and that it's unlikely he will change his mind.

"Yeah, it really did come down to the last day," he said. "I
heard from them every day through that last week. They were trying
to get me to commit. I kind of went the other way and came here."

Although spending the summer trying to decide where he would go
was tough, Mitchell is confident he made the right decision.

"I'm satisfied," he said. "It was a win-win situation. I'm
not missing out on anything. I love it here; it's going to be a
great ride."

Playing quarterback in high school, Mitchell accounted for 2,554
yards and 22 touchdowns rushing and passing. But his future was at
wide receiver, where he was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 10 pass
catcher in the nation. He batted .506 with six homers and 31 RBI
as a senior outfielder.

Mitchell said he has met and spoken to new LSU baseball coach
Paul Mainieri and looks forward to playing for him. He said he's
cleared to start with the baseball team in January, though he also
will participate in spring football drills.

In camp Mitchell has been catching passes with the ease he
catches fly balls. Mitchell has drawn raves from Coach Les Miles
and offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. The first four days of camp
he caught several passes from quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, who also
was impressed.

"He's a good kid with a good personality," Perrilloux said.
"He has incredible hands. He's fast, quick and has good moves.
He's picking the offense up real well. And he's an incredible
baseball player."

Mitchell said he considered playing college football and pro
baseball, but that might be stretching himself too thin.

"It was a possibility but nothing I looked at seriously," he
said. "It's hard to do because there is so much offseason work to
do. You don't see guys doing it that much anymore. My family and I
had to go with what I felt in my gut."