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Austin Aune, top QB recruit, passes up on TCU glory for $1 million Yankees bonus

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Ever wonder what it would take to lure a top quarterback prospect out of an ongoing training program with a major Division I college program? Now we know: $1 million and the lure of the New York Yankees.

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TCU QB recruit and Yankees signee Austin Aune — Rivals.com

TCU QB recruit and Yankees signee Austin Aune — Rivals.com

As first reported by Baseball America and the Dallas Morning News, TCU quarterback signee Austin Aune, who was also a top baseball player at Argyle (Texas) High, left his summer training program at TCU to sign with the Yankees less than two weeks after he was selected by the Bronx Bombers in the second round of the draft with the 89th overall pick.

Baseball America's Jim Callis reported that Aune was given a flat, $1 million bonus to sign off on a future in baseball and not football, which he had long planned to play for the Horned Frogs. TCU was eager to work the state champion, pro-style quarterback into the mix as soon as he was ready, hoping to integrate the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder's leadership skills into a program which will enter the Big 12 at a gallop and hope to build off its recent success that includes a Rose Bowl victory to cap the 2010-11 season.

It appeared that Aune was just as eager to join TCU, too: The teen was already living in the school's dorms when he was drafted so he could take part in the school's summer football training program and summer school classes.

While Aune has drawn praise for both raw power and speed, it's the teen's arm that may stand out. That's appropriate for a quarterback who passed for a massive 3,411 yards and 42 touchdowns as a senior at Argyle.

It's clear that Aune, who starred as a shortstop in high school but projects as an outfielder at the major-league level, made his decision based on the lure of the Yankees and the money offer, too. New York paid well over the expected bonus value slotted for his pick — reportedly a touch above $500,000 — to help land a phenomenal athlete who was expected to compete in both football and baseball with the Horned Frogs.

And if things don't work out with the Yankees, Aune can always follow in the footsteps of Drew Henson, who passed up on a bright future at Michigan to sign with New York, only to eventually leave baseball and join the NFL.

For now, Aune will dip down into the overwhelming obscurity of the minor leagues rather than the crucible of major college football. If he eventually makes his way to the Bronx, that's a trade that he may feel was well worth making, even if it required him to walk away from an opportunity he was well on the way to experiencing to its fullest.

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