But he has become key player as cornerback
By Seth Emerson
ATHENS, Ga. — One day this week, Sanders Commings was spotted wearing a New York Yankees shirt. A day later, he was sporting a Boston Red Sox shirt. And in high school he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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It doesn’t take long to figure out how much baseball means to Commings.
“I really miss that one-on-one battle with just me and the pitcher,” Commings said. “It’s always fun running down balls in the outfield, making diving catches.”
For now, though, Commings is playing a pretty critical role for the Georgia football team.
The sophomore has started two straight games at cornerback, and was the Bulldogs’ second-leading tackler in last week’s rout of Tennessee.
When this season started, he was merely in the mix to play in some nickel and dime situations. But the concussions to Branden Smith, and Commings’ consistent play, have vaulted him into a bigger role.
“Coach basically said I’m always in position to make a play on the ball,” Commings said. “I haven’t gotten beat so far, so I guess it’s worked to my advantage. I’ve been able to work my way into the starting lineup.”
For a Georgia secondary that has been burned often by big plays, Commings’ ability to keep guys checked is a huge benefit.
“I think he’s a good example of, when I first came here we talked about rewarding guys for getting better, and you know, buying in and improving every week,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said.
Grantham said the turning point for Commings this season was against Arkansas, the third game. The Bulldogs’ secondary was beaten early and often by Razorbacks star quarterback Ryan Mallett, but Grantham said Commings “held up” in that game.
As a freshman, Commings played in three games before taking a medical redshirt with a shoulder injury. Last year, Commings played mostly in nickel packages. He had an interception in the Independence Bowl, which he said gave him confidence heading into this year.
“He’s got some size, some physicality to him, and, because of the way the guy worked and the way the guy preformed in the Arkansas game, we’ll continue to play him,” Grantham said.
Commings was a two-sport star at Westside High School in Augusta, batting .406 with six home runs as a junior. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected him in the 37th round of the 2008 Major League Baseball draft.
He chose football, because 37th-round money isn’t life-changing. But he hasn’t closed the book on baseball and said he might look into playing it next spring.
“As long as my grades stay up,” he said.
That hasn’t been a problem. Commings has made the Dean’s List several times at Georgia and is majoring in pre-business. Commings said he has thought about being a lawyer or going into sports management or business.
But when he was asked what career he would pick if football didn’t work out, he had a one-word answer: