This Former New York Yankees Prospect is Thriving…as a College Football Player?
With the 29th selection in the second round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft, the New York Yankees are proud to select, from Argyle High School in Texas, centerfielder Austin Aune.
It's been nine years since that happened. While Carlos Correa, Kevin Gausman and others continue to pursue their baseball career, Austin Aune does not. The now-28-year old is still slinging the ball around, still staying in shape, and still performing on gameday in front of adoring fans.
The difference, however, is that Aune is thriving as a college football player, nearly a decade after he would've been a freshman in college.
Once a strong high school baseball player, Aune declared for the MLB Draft instead of pursuing a college career and education. Aune was a college football recruit back in 2012, too, having committed to Texas Christian University to play under head coach Gary Patterson. As the Fort Worth Star Telegram asserts, however, the New York Yankees drafted Aune in the second round, and paid him a signing bonus that was almost double what a player drafted in that position would normally be paid.
Aune chose to de-commit from TCU, and pursue his baseball career, instead.
Aune began his baseball career in rookie ball, hitting a respectable .272 with the Yankees' rookie level team through 39 games in 2013. Though his numbers fell off a cliff in his second year with the rookie team, he was promoted the following season, showing once again how much the Yankees believed in his future.
The next year, another middling statistical performance, but another promotion, this time from the Low-A to Single-A level. The year was 2015, and the 21-year old Aune enjoyed what was probably his most productive baseball season of his short career. He hit .246, but his power numbers were trending upwards, finishing with a career-high in home runs and RBIs through 112 games.
2016 brought with it another promotion, and a severe decline in production. He spent two seasons with High-A Tampa, and was out of baseball at the end of 2017.
The Star Telegram continues to tell Aune's incredible story, which picks back up in 2018, when he began to try to walk onto college football teams. Don't forget, because Aune did not ever attend college before being drafted, he still technically had NCAA eligibility. After walking onto, and subsequently leaving, Arkansas, Aune found a home in his home state, with North Texas.
Now, in 2021, Aune is currently in his junior year with the Mean Green of North Texas. After splitting games a season ago, it appears that the former Yankees' prospect has gained control of the starting quarterback position with the team. He threw for four touchdowns on 305 passing yards on Saturday, keeping the Mean Green in the game in what would become a 48-35 loss to Missouri of the SEC.
Aune's story is far from finished, that much is for sure. When you look at where he finds himself today, it makes you wonder where Austin Aune would be today if he had stayed committed to TCU, and had never signed with New York in the first place.