Florida State’s receiving corps was dealt a blow on Thursday when rising-senior Taiwan Easterling decided to forego his final year of eligibility and sign a professional baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs.
Easterling, who the Florida Marlins selected in the 6th round coming out of high school in 2007, was drafted by the Cubs in the 27th round of last month’s MLB Draft. The Hattiesburg, MS native hit .296 with 19 RBI and 6 stolen bases for the Seminole baseball team, which was a game away from reaching the College World Series before being eliminated by Texas A&M. He will have some familiar company in the Cubs organization, as Chicago also drafted fellow Nole Rafael Lopez in the 16th round of last month’s draft.
Easterling was the Seminoles’ 2nd-leading receiver in 2010, contributing 43 catches for 551 yards and 5 touchdowns. While his gritty play and leadership will be missed, the team boasts a slew of talented veterans ready to fill the void created by Easterling’s departure. Senior Bert Reed had 614 yards receiving during the 2010 season, and juniors Willie Haulstead and Rodney Smith combined for 9 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards. All three offer the type of big-play ability that will lessen the impact of losing Easterling. The trio will be tested early, with Oklahoma visiting Tallahassee on September 17th in a prime-time game which could have early-season BCS Championship implications.