Stanford safety set to choose baseball over NFL aspirations

Stanford's defensive rebuild in 2015 might be more difficult than first thought depending on the decision of one of the school's top two-sport stars.

Starting safety Zach Hoffpauir told The Stanford Daily that he is likely to select baseball over football if the right offer comes along from a team picking him in the upcoming Major League Baseball Draft this June.

"I'd say that if I wanted to play pro baseball, this would be the year to do it," Hoffpauir said. "I'm very solid -- I'm 100 percent signable, and I want to sign this year. If I get what I want, then I'll go."

Hoffpauir leads the Cardinal's baseball team in home runs and slugging as an outfielder this spring. He skipped football drills last month to focus on his time on the diamond. He was slated to assume the starting role at safety alongside Kodi Whitfield when fall camp opens for the team after spending several productive seasons roaming the secondary as a sure-tackling safety and nickelback. The senior is on the radar of NFL teams when it comes to next year's draft as a middle- to late-round prospect, and it appears that Hoffpauir is keeping that door open if things do not work out with baseball.

"With football, I always knew I could play in the NFL, but my career's been different from what I thought it would be," he said. "But I'm in a good spot now if I wanted to play professional football."

Stanford's defense lost four starters to the 2015 NFL Draft, including New England Patriots second-rounder Jordan Richards. Head coach David Shaw likely has already begun another recruiting effort on Hoffpauir in order to get him to return to the gridiron for another season, but his willingness to do so might not be settled until after negotiations with a baseball team have concluded this summer.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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