Deion Sanders knows a thing or two about dual-sport stardom in baseball and football.
“Prime Time,” as he came to be known in his ’90s heyday, is the only athlete to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series. He dominated on the field as a cornerback for the Falcons, 49ers and Cowboys, racking up All-Pro honors nine times. For nine of those 14 seasons, he also pursued a part-time career as an outfielder for the Braves, Yankees, Reds and Giants.
In short, he was a bad, bad man:
On Friday night, the man who said “Confidence is my natural odor” was in central Arkansas. Sanders was visiting Bryant High’s Hornet Stadium as the offensive coordinator of a powerhouse private Texas football team that is among the biggest and most talented teams in the nation. But there Deion Sanders found another dual-sports star raring to steal the spotlight.
Here are some highlights from Bryant’s huge win behind Ledbetter:
With Bryant down 38-40, Ledbetter drove the Hornets down the field. On third down and eight, with a little more than four minutes to go, he made the play of the game:
.@austinled2413!!! On 3rd & 8 he avoids the sack and takes it in for the TD! @Hornet_TD_Club leads 44-40 after the failed 2PT conversion. 4:10 to play @THV11 @PrepsOn11 #PrepsOn11 pic.twitter.com/AwRgDrWLMK— Dorian Craft (@doriancraft) September 19, 2020
Bryant’s defense then bowed up, and the Hornets held on to beat Trinity Christian 44-40.
This might have been the last chance for an Arkansas high school to play against a Deion Sanders-coached team. Sanders has made no secret about his desire to coach college football and it appears his first job at that level is imminent. Jackson State (which has delayed its football season to spring 2021) will soon announce him as its next head, according to multiple reports.
Austin Ledbetter in college football?
Ledbetter, a pitcher with a fastball up to 90 miles per hours, has been around the sport practically all his life. He’s cousins with former Hog baseball players DJ and Blake Baxendale, and got his first offer from Dave Van Horn during his freshman year, according to the interview below.
Through the years, he’s followed the Razorbacks and always wanted to play for them.
Ledbetter told Pig Trail Nation’s Otis Kirk he has ties to Bryant area natives who became Hogs: “I used to work out with Evan [Lee] when he was at Bryant. Blaine Knight was a Bryant kid. They’re all good dudes and I just like to watch them play.”
As for football, it appears Ledbetter is open to a Connor Noland-like start to his career. “It’s an option if it comes, but I’m just going to let my talent take me to where I belong,” he said of potentially getting football scholarship offers in the future. “Plus, free tuition in football is awesome,” he says at the 1:43 mark below. “If the Razorbacks give me the option to play football and baseball, it would be a blessing.”
James, for his part, said on the Buzz 103.7 that he thinks Ledbetter is “highly overlooked as a Division I quarterback.”