Most 22-year-old college athletes are looking ahead to their next chapter, likely hoping that it's going pro. But one UCF football player has already been a professional athlete — and is now a college freshman.
UCF wide receiver Jordan Akins is true freshman who was originally a part of the Knights' 2010 signing class. Akins was subsequently drafted in the third round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers, putting his UCF dreams on hold. He grew up playing basketball and football as well, but chose to follow his first love: baseball.
Akins played as an outfielder, hitting .218 in his four seasons in the Texas farm system. In the 321 minor league games he played in, he recorded 24 home runs and 42 stolen bases. Akins decided to retire after his fourth season was over.
The question then becomes why would a young athlete, who has already seen the professional, ranks walk away from the highest-paying professional league in the country?
"I wouldn't say I wasn't progressing, because every day I was getting better. I would say I wasn't moving through the system as fast as I thought I should," Akins explained.
In the Knights' season opener in Ireland, Akins recorded a 66-yard kickoff return that gave UCF some momentum after Penn State put the first touchdown on the board.
Akins admits that although he's only 22, he sometimes does feel like the "old guy" and his teammates tease him a little about it. The receiver said that he thinks playing professionally gives him something special to bring to the team.
"[The experience] is good. I know how it is at a pro level to compete and how to win. I think I can bring that to this team."
Akins said he likes the change of scenery and being around a good group of guys. He's glad to be back and is looking forward to the challenge of returning after his non-traditional start.
"It's so exciting. It's like redemption. I've got a lot to prove and I get to play a sport that's my second love," Akins said.