What could have been for Giancarlo Mike Stanton and USC football

Giancarlo Michael Stanton of the New York Yankees is one of the best power hitters of the past 20 years, but I always wonder what could have been if he had chosen to play football at USC instead of signing his MLB draft contract in 2007.

In the fall of 2006, USC head coach Pete Carroll and assistant Steve Sarkisian learned of a senior wide receiver and defensive back at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, who went by the name of Mike Stanton.

Stanton was drafted in the second round—No. 76 overall—by the Marlins in 2007.

“My high school football coaches worked with NFL guys,” Stanton said, citing former USC and Raiders running back Justin Fargas. “They watched me play against current NFL guys and believed I could have made it. I picked baseball over football because of the opportunity. I wanted to stick to one sport full-time for the first time in my life.”

Stanton ended up signing a 13-year deal worth $325 million. He eventually got traded to the New York Yankees in 2018 after winning the NL MVP award in 2017.

His quarterback in high school, Dayne Crist, played at Notre Dame, Kansas and the Baltimore Ravens. Crist called Stanton one of the most athletic players he has ever seen at any level.

During his senior year at wide receiver, Giancarlo Michael Stanton caught 29 passes for 745 yards and 11 touchdowns with an average of more than 25 yards per catch.

On the defensive side of the ball, Stanton played strong safety at 6’4 and 210 pounds. He totaled 50 tackles and five interceptions. He also was a punter, making him a three-phase player.

Stanton went up against notable opponents in high school: Christian Fauria, Marc Tyler, Richard Sherman and Jimmy Clausen. He was able to hold his own.

We all wonder what could have been for Stanton if he chose to play football at USC for coach Carroll, Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin for the Trojans.

I think Stanton would have changed positions. He grew into a larger frame at 6’5 and 245 pounds. He ended up filling out nicely. He probably would have moved to tight end in the 2007 class with Rhett Ellison on a USC team that already featured tight ends Fred Davis and Anthony McCoy.

Giancarlo Stanton made the right choice. He has carved out a very productive career with the Marlins and Yankees. Yet, he would have been a solid tight end for the Trojans and at least had a cup of tea in the NFL. He might have had a ceiling as a starter and played multiple years, like USC tight end Fred Davis.

USC has so many what ifs, but this one has always been interesting to me. If Stanton invested his full time in football, what truly could have become of his career?

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire