ARLINGTON -- The Rangers added a premium athlete to their Minor League mix when they drafted outfielder Bubba Thompson from McGill-Toolen, a Catholic high school in Mobile, Ala., with the 26th overall pick of the MLB Draft.Thompson was an outstanding quarterback at McGill-Toolen, leading his team to the state football
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers added a premium athlete to their Minor League mix when they drafted outfielder Bubba Thompson from McGill-Toolen, a Catholic high school in Mobile, Ala., with the 26th overall pick of the MLB Draft.
Thompson was an outstanding quarterback at McGill-Toolen, leading his team to the state football championship. But he is committed to playing baseball. Thompson said he plans to sign with the Rangers instead of taking a baseball scholarship at the University of Alabama.
:: 2017 MLB Draft coverage ::
"I just want to go out there and show everybody what I got and make a name for myself," Thompson said. "I've always had a passion to play baseball…the one-on-one competition when you get in the batter's box with the pitcher, and being with a team."
Thompson also had much interest from college football recruiters to play quarterback in the SEC.
"I have such love for the game [of baseball], and I just knew this was the love of my career, so I knew I made the right decision," Thompson said. "It's gotta be your passion, and my passion was to play baseball. So that's what I continued to work at. I love baseball. I worked my butt off, day in and day out, and this is what you get."
Thompson's goal was to be a first-round pick. He had to wait a little longer than expected, as he was the last of the four prospects on hand for the Draft in Secaucus, N.J., but it was worth the wait.
• Rangers' 29th overall pick: Christopher Seise
• Rangers' 66th overall pick: Hans Crouse
"This is the best possible team I could go to," said Thompson, who got a thunderous applause from the MLB Network audience when his name was called. "I'm blessed to be a part of it."
Thompson hit .429 with 11 home runs, 35 RBIs,18 stolen bases and an .857 slugging percentage this season as a senior at McGill-Toolen. A right-handed hitter and thrower, he was named the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) Player of the Year and was a First Team All-State selection.
Thompson fits the Rangers favorite profile of a tremendous athlete who can play in the middle of the field. He admitted his best asset was his speed.
"I like going out to that outfield and running around," Thompson said. "Also stealing bases."
He is well aware that Mobile has a rich baseball heritage. Hank Aaron is one of five Hall of Famers born in the Mobile area along with Willie McCovey, Satchel Paige, Ozzie Smith and Billy Williams. He knows who those immortals are, and it helps drive him as a player and a role model.
"Back at home, I try to influence as many as I can with little kids' camps. Back at McGill, we had a baseball camp but I couldn't make it because I was at a pre-Draft workout, but I wanted to be there. I just love working with the kids and just inspiring them."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.