The Daily Aztec

SDSU football’s Calvin Munson chooses gridiron over diamond

by Ryan Posner, Sports Editor

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Up until about his sophomore year in high school, San Diego State junior linebacker Calvin Munson was a baseball guy.

The right-handed pitcher was a regular summer baseball participant and traveled around the country to play in showcases littered with pro scouts.

His first big break in baseball came  when the St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in the 31st round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Francis Powell High in St. Charles, Missouri.

But after what has been a memorable Aztec football career thus far, patrolling the middle of the field in SDSU’s tenacious 3-3-5 defense, Munson decided that his heart only had space for one sport.

“Coming out of high school it was a blur what I was more passionate about. I just viewed it as, ‘I love baseball and I love football,’” he said.

“But I have more fun playing football and getting out there with all the guys. I love playing the games, practice is always fun.”

It may seem a little puzzling for someone to quit on a sport he was already given a professional shot at, but it’s clear Munson is more comfortable on the football field.

He led the team in tackles, tackles for a loss and sacks last season as the Aztecs won 11 games, a Mountain West championship and the Hawaii Bowl over University of Cincinnati.

Although Munson says he’s not sure what NFL scouts are saying about him just yet,  head coach Rocky Long doesn’t seem too concerned.

“I personally believe that we have six juniors on our football team that could have gone into an NFL camp, and six that maybe could have gotten drafted, (Munson) being one of them,” he said.

“I think he sees himself potentially as a football player more so than a Major League Baseball player. He thought it was to his advantage to get bigger and stronger in the weight room.”

Munson’s success on the football field wasn’t necessarily mirrored on the diamond, racking up an 8.44 ERA in seven appearances last season with the SDSU baseball team.

But he won his first championship ring at SDSU after the baseball team won its third consecutive MW championship title last year and he said he had scouts checking back in on him, seeing if he still had some fire in that right arm.

Although Munson would love to put the spikes on one more time, his decision is final.

“I don’t think it would be fair to the (baseball) guys with me just coming in late and I don’t think it would be fair to the (football) guys, bailing on them like that,” he said.  “A selfish part of me would definitely want to go out there and put on the baseball pants and the jersey again.”

Baseball head coach Mark Martinez was bummed when Munson delivered the news he wouldn’t be back this season.

But the coach with one of the calmest demeanors on campus understood the decision.

That didn’t mean he couldn’t spare a joke or two.

“He told me he knew I was always soft when I told him I wasn’t coming out this year. He was joking around right out of the get-go,” Munson said.

One player who will feel the immediate impact of Munson’s full-time appearance at spring practice will be junior linebacker Ryan Dunn.

Dunn, who transferred from University of Arizona after his freshman season, didn’t get the full experience of having Munson around last spring.

The importance of having a veteran like Munson around to mentor younger players in the spring is critical, in his opinion.

There’s also just a different feel on the field when No. 54 is roaming around.

“He focuses on the fine details, but then just seeing him light someone up in practice with a big hit brings a lot of energy,” Dunn said.

Munson laughed at the notion of being the next Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders, although he said he always had that vision growing up.

For the immediate future, that vision is being put on hold.

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