July 1, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida State wide receiver and outfielder Taiwan Easterling has signed a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs will not return to school.
"Taiwan and I talked and he's decided to pursue his career in baseball," said FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher. "I totally support him 100 percent. He did an outstanding job for us.
"I would have loved to have him back, but I totally understand him pursuing his future endeavors. Baseball is the way for him to go and we wish him nothing but the best."
Easterling, a walk-on with the baseball team, was selected in the 27th round of the June Major League Draft. After playing sparingly in 2010 for Mike Martin's club, the Hattiesburg, Miss. native came into own in 2011 club. In 55 games, including 35 starts, Easterling batted .296 with five double and 19 RBI, highlighted by his 4-for-4 performance in the Tallahassee Regional final against Alabama.
An accomplished baseball player in high school - he was Mississippi's Mr. Baseball in 2007 - Easterling was selected in the sixth round of the MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins in 2007and again in the 31st round by the Marlins in 2010.
Easterling came to Florida State on a football scholarship and leaves as one of the most productive receivers in program history. He established new single-season highs in 2010 for receptions (43), receiving yards (551) and touchdowns (five), averaging a career-best 12.8 yards per reception.
A 31-game starter over the course of his career, Easterling collected 108 receptions - 18th in FSU history - good for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns. He finishes his career with at least one reception in 24 consecutive games, which led the team.
Easterling's final Florida State reception was a 7-yard touchdown pass from EJ Manuel with 6:22 remaining, sealing the Seminoles' 26-17 Chick-fil-A Bowl victory over South Carolina.
He had one year of eligibility remaining in both football and baseball.
"We'll miss him as a Seminole," Fisher said, "but we're sure he'll have a good career in professional baseball."