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College Football and the Detroit Tigers

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 16: Running Back Elijah Collins #24 of the Michigan State Spartans runs from defender Lavert Hill #24 of the Michigan Wolverines during the second half of a college football game at Michigan Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Ann Arbor, MI. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 16: Running Back Elijah Collins #24 of the Michigan State Spartans runs from defender Lavert Hill #24 of the Michigan Wolverines during the second half of a college football game at Michigan Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Ann Arbor, MI. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images) /
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Phil Nevin

College Football
SAN DIEGO, CA – JUNE 2: Phil Nevin #23 of the San Diego Padres looks on during the Padres 2-1 win in the 10th inning over the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park on June 2, 2004 in San Diego. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) /

Phil Nevin had a celebrated college baseball career, leading his Cal State Fullerton team to the College World Series in 1992, and winning both the CWS Most Outstanding Player award and the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to college baseball’s best player. Nevin was then taken first overall by the Houston Astros, a decision that famously led Detroit Tigers Hall-of-Famer and Houston scout Hal Newhouser to quit, because the team ignored his advice to draft Derek Jeter.

The Astros seemingly regretted their choice, trading Nevin to Detroit for Mike Henneman in 1995 after just 18 games in a Houston uniform. Nevin didn’t do much for the Tigers over the next two seasons, and was traded twice more before finally seeing some success in San Diego. He made one All-Star team and finished with a .270 average and 208 home runs in his MLB career. Nevin is still around baseball, including several seasons managing Tigers minor-league teams. He currently serves as the third-base coach for the New York Yankees.

But Phil Nevin was also an excellent college football player. He was a kicker and a punter, sure, but he was a darn good one! He was actually named an All-American as a freshman after going 15-for-21 on field goals, including a 54-yarder. His FG accuracy took a nosedive after that, including a 7-for-19 performance in 1991, but he did average nearly 41 yards per punt. Phil Nevin remains the second-leading scorer in Call State Fullerton history…though the program disbanded in 1992.

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