Sanders Commings will be doing his best Deion Sanders impression when he is drafted in April’s NFL Draft. Like Sanders, Commings was taken in the MLB draft out of high school after he hit .406 with six homeruns, 27 runs batted in and 18 stolen bases as a senior outfielder at Westside High School in Augusta, Ga.
He was already enrolled in summer classes at the University of Georgia when he got the call though, and after assessing the situation and discussing the opportunity with his parents, Commings decided his best option was to stay in Athens. In addition to keeping receivers in check, the cornerback hoped to run down fly balls in the outfield for the Bulldogs as well. Commings talked to Georgia baseball coach David Perno about putting on the metal spikes in the spring, but the corner back was never able to showcase his skills on Foley Field.
“I was on a full football scholarship and spent so much time with football so I was never really able to make it out to the baseball field,” said Commings. “But I’m happy with how it worked out.”
It worked out to a tune of 154 tackles and 8 interceptions and a rising draft stock for the three-year starter. Originally projected as low as a fifth round pick, Commings has shot up to the third round with the potential to go even higher, and his size and agility are big reasons why.
At 6-foot-3 and 223 pounds, he’s massive for a defensive back. He’s almost the size of a big strong safety or a small linebacker, but he’s fluid enough to turn and run with receivers.
“I think I bring versatility to a football team, I can play every position in the secondary,” said Commings. “Also, at corner I bring size and good speed to the position, so I can do a good job of playing the bigger receivers and tight ends.”
His speed was a bit of a concern heading into the combine and Georgia’s pro day, but Commings has all but eliminated any doubt in that area. NFL teams were estimating a 4.55 40-yard dash out of the cornerback, but he blew that out of the water when he ran a 4.41.
Because of his physicality, there has been talk of converting the cornerback to safety at the next level. Although it’s not a position that he played a whole lot of at Georgia, Commings said he wouldn’t mind the switch in the least bit.
“Some teams are interested in me as a safety prospect and some are interested in me at corner, but I don’t have a preference,” said Commings. “I just want to do whatever I can to get on the field and help a team win.”
Commings excels at press coverage, so it’s no surprise that he models his game after that of Darrelle Revis. As for his favorite all-time player, the aforementioned Deion Sanders tops the list for no other reason than his two-sport prowess on the gridiron and the baseball diamond.
Staying on the theme of favorites, Commings said his favorite aspect of football is its competitive nature. Being a multi-sport star throughout his life and a natural competitor, he’s always competing in something, whether it is football, FIFA, or even a round of golf.
Being from the home of the Masters, it’s only natural that Commings likes to play the links. He’s been playing for eight years, and according to him, usually shoots around 10 over par. Not bad for someone with more muscle than Tiger Woods would know what to do with.
As for FIFA, Commings likes to challenge teammate Tavarres King with Manchester United or England. Who wins? I knew the answer before I even asked.
“Oh me, of course,” said Commings. “I always win. I’m number one.”
Commings did a lot of winning during his five years at Georgia, but couldn’t pinpoint one specific moment that he would label as his absolute favorite. Playing with great teammates under inspiring coaches in front of die-hard fans, he said, made every play and every game memorable.
Being drafted is sure to take over that number one spot though. While being selected in the MLB draft was quite an accomplishment, having his name called by Commissioner Roger Goodell has been his goal since his dominating Pop Warner days.
“I always knew I was a talented guy and was one of the best players on my teams growing up,” said Commings. “I never knew exactly where my talents would take me, but my dream was to play in the NFL and be a professional athlete, and I’m just fortunate that it’s happening this way.”
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