Michigan Recruit Signs With Yanks


Drew Henson, Michigan's highly touted incoming freshman quarterback, reached an agreement on a five-year deal Friday with the New York Yankees.

His father and agent said Henson will receive a $2 million signing bonus spread out over five years, but other terms were not disclosed.

Henson played third base in the second game of a doubleheader with the Yankees' rookie league team in Tampa, Fla., on Friday night, going 1-for-3.

"He's a special player, no doubt," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He has a bright future if he chooses the path of baseball, like we hope he will."

But Henson, a third-round pick in June's amateur baseball draft, 97th overall, still plans on checking into a Michigan dormitory this fall to battle for the quarterback slot.

As a senior at Brighton High, Henson completed 132-of-243 passes for 2,305 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also had a 90 mph fastball as a pitcher.

Michigan tight end Mark Campbell said, "He's a gifted athlete, and to be offered all that money and still stay committed to Michigan football, that's just impressive. How can you not respect that?"

Henson's father Dan, a pro scout with International Management Group and former offensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan, said his son was excited about the prospects of playing both sports.

"I'm excited that his life is all set up; he knows that he'll be playing football at Michigan and play baseball in the Yankees organization," Dan Henson said.

Drew's desire to play both sports made for lengthy negotiations, Dan Henson said.

"Drew's plan all along has been to make a decision on one or the other at the end of college," Dan Henson told The Ann Arbor News. "That will be his call. Each year as he matures, he'll figure out what he likes best."

Mark Newman, the Yankees vice-president of player development and scouting, said the team and Henson discussed how to arrange for Drew Henson to play both sports.

"We will talk on a yearly basis about him becoming a full-time baseball player," Newman said. "(But) we will not get into a situation where we're trying to pressure him on a daily basis."

Drew Henson is following a similar path to that of his idol, John Elway, who played pro football while playing college baseball at Stanford.

"His financial status has changed in the last 24 hours," Dan Henson said, "but he hasn't changed nor will he, and that's what makes me proudest."

Drew and Dan Henson hammered out the contract with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and Newman.

Henson will stay in Florida until Sunday evening, then return to Michigan for next week's orientation and passing drills.

At Brighton, Henson, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound three-sport star, set national prep records or career home runs (70), grand slams (10), RBIs (290) and runs (259).

NCAA rules allow an athlete to play professionally in one sport and at the collegiate level in another. The rules stipulate that Henson must give up his college scholarship, but that the scholarship still counts against Michigan's limit of 85. Dan Henson said his son's education will be paid for by major league baseball's college scholarship program.

© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved