Mississippi State

This Coast athlete wanted a chance to play two sports at Mississippi State. He has his answer.

East Central's Brad Cumbest watches as his hit sails over the fence for a home run against Pascagoula on March 1 in Hurley.
East Central's Brad Cumbest watches as his hit sails over the fence for a home run against Pascagoula on March 1 in Hurley. amccoy@sunherald.com file

After putting together an outstanding senior season with the East Central High School baseball team, Mississippi State football signee Brad Cumbest was hoping to get a shot to become a two-sport athlete for the Bulldogs.

On Friday, he got the news he was hoping for.

MSU baseball assistant Jake Gautreau called Cumbest to inform him that he would be able to play both sports in Starkville.

“He said he went and talked to the football coach and he was perfectly fine with you playing baseball also,” Cumbest said.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Cumbest helped lead the East Central football team to the Class 4A South State title in 2017 as a tight end. He caught 36 passes for 766 yards and nine touchdowns.

As a baseball player, Cumbest was a standout at the plate, in right field and on the pitcher's mound. He hit .456 with eight homers and 31 RBIs. As a pitcher, he finished 10-1 with a 1.01 ERA and 87 strikeouts.

It's his power at the plate and a strong arm in right field that grabbed the attention of both college coaches and pro scouts. For an MSU team that's hit just 32 homers this season, Cumbest could provide instant pop for the Bulldogs in 2019.

“(Gautreau) said they need somebody in the lineup with some beef, a guy that can hit the long ball,” Cumbest said. “I was kind of shocked they'd let me play.'

“I've always loved playing baseball. I never thought I'd quit one to play another. I've always thought I'd play both of them wherever I went.”

Several MLB teams have been in contact with Cumbest and he went through workouts for both the Padres and Phillies during the season. This past Monday, he took part in an invite-only event with the Dodgers in Hammond, Louisiana.

“It went really well,” Cumbest said. “(The scout) told me I was one of the best ones there for competing with a bunch of college recruits.”

Cumbest was encouraged by what he heard from the Dodgers and he believes the team is seriously considering picking him in the MLB Draft, which will take place June 4-6.

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However, Cumbest isn't willing to walk away from football without a significant financial commitment from an MLB squad. He told the Dodgers scout that it would take a generous offer to convince him to sign.

Cumbest gave the scout a specific dollar figure.

“He told me it was reasonable, that it could happen,” he said. “I went down everything in detail based on football and education. That takes a bunch of money to give up all of that.”

Cumbest will leave for MSU this Tuesday to begin classes and take part in summer workouts with the football team.