Decision made: Ankeny's Brody Brecht headed to Iowa to play baseball and football
For months, Ankeny native Brody Brecht mulled over perhaps the biggest decision of his life: Brecht could either play football and baseball for the Iowa Hawkeyes or begin his professional baseball career.
He finally knows what he's doing.
Brecht, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher and star wide receiver at Ankeny High School, says he plans to head to Iowa to play baseball and football for the Hawkeyes after he wasn't selected in the first two days of the Major League Baseball draft.
The Ankeny senior, one of the most intriguing pitching prospects in the three-day event, which began Sunday, went undrafted in the first 10 rounds. Ranked the 77th-best prospect in the draft, according to MLB.com, Brecht likely could have gone had it not been for the high financial demands he was asking teams for to sign him.
"I had an original price that probably would have been met and made me get drafted," Brecht said in a phone interview with the Register Monday night. "But I was kind of rethinking and I just wasn't really comfortable leaving Iowa for that amount, so I raised it and some teams backed out and it just kind of got pretty quiet."
The draft, which lasted 20 rounds, wrapped up Tuesday. Brecht wouldn't offer the specific dollar amount he was looking for, but said it was seven figures. He had been rapidly rising up draft boards due to his raw talent and high 90s fastball that experts expected to reach triple digits with more training and a wipeout slider.
Despite the high upside, teams decided to pass on Brecht. A diehard Iowa fan, Brecht has said he's dreamed of playing football for the Hawkeyes. It has been such a big dream of his that he was adamant that it would take a large signing bonus to lure him away from playing at Iowa.
"I just felt like it wasn't worth giving up two sports, giving up football, giving up my degree," he said Monday. "I just didn't think it was worth it for that much. It was just kind of what my heart was telling me."
So Brecht will finish out his high school baseball season at Ankeny and enroll at Iowa in the fall to play football and baseball for the Hawkeyes — a big get for both teams. Brecht was one of the top wide receivers in the state last fall, tallying 42 receptions for 599 yards and 12 touchdowns during his senior season. And he's been even better on the mound, compiling a 7-0 mark with a 0.68 ERA in his first seven outings. Brecht also tallied 89 strikeouts in 41.1 innings.
"I'm excited," he said Monday. "I can kind of just clear my head and just focus on finishing up these last few weeks that we've got left and then I'm excited that I get to go to Iowa."
Tommy Birch, the Register's sports enterprise and features reporter, has been working at the newspaper since 2008. He's the 2018 and 2020 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Reach him at email@example.com or 515-284-8468. Follow him on Twitter @TommyBirch.