In the middle of Creighton’s plane ride home Tuesday, while CU star Will Robertson played card games with his teammates, a cellphone pulled in a signal from the ground and buzzed.
“Do you want to know?”
Redshirt freshman Andrew Meggs had somehow gotten word. So he asked.
Robertson hesitated, but only for a second. The biggest development in his playing career was unfolding — and he was isolated in the sky, unable to use the in-flight Internet to track the MLB draft or to block out thoughts about his potential professional fate.
So yes, Robertson had to know. Right there. Right then.
And that’s how he found out he’ll be a Toronto Blue Jay. On a plane, thousands of feet in the air, surrounded by elated teammates and coaches who spent the next several minutes trying to squeeze by one another to hug their right fielder in the cabin’s tiny aisle.
“I’m ecstatic,” said the junior from Loose Creek, Missouri. “It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was a little kid, when I dressed up in baseball pants and reenacted every game on ‘SportsCenter.’ It’s awesome.”
He sorted out the draft details once he landed in Omaha. Then he got to celebrate some more Tuesday.
For the first time in 28 seasons and for just the second time in program history, Creighton had three players selected in the first 10 rounds of the MLB draft.
Robertson became the highest-drafted CU player since 1999 when he went 117th overall in the fourth round to the Blue Jays on Tuesday afternoon. Ryan Gripp was the 110th overall selection 20 years ago.
A few hours later Tuesday, second baseman Isaac Collins was claimed in the ninth round by the Colorado Rockies with the No. 279 pick. Then first baseman Jake Holton went 292nd overall in the 10th round to the Detroit Tigers.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Creighton had seen its season end with a 17-6 loss to Michigan in an NCAA regional final.
The sting of that defeat hadn’t quite dissipated Tuesday — particularly since CU was one win away from its first-ever super regional — but the players did their best to cherish the program’s milestone draft moments.
Collins sat with teammates and coaches in the baseball facility’s lounge Tuesday afternoon. He clutched his phone. He hardly spoke. His eyes darted between the TV and his text message inbox as a drone-like voice recited pick after pick after pick.
Finally, Collins got a call. Then, a few picks later, came a text. He heard his name right after that.
“We got to watch it and see the anticipation before my name was called,” Collins said. “I can’t ask for anything more, to be here with all my teammates and to have my coaches next to me. Yeah, it was awesome. Words can’t describe what that was like.”
The only other time a trio of Jays went in the first 10 rounds of the draft was 1991 — Scott Stahoviak (first), Dax Jones (eighth) and Steve Hinton (ninth). That team made the College World Series in the days before super regionals.
Robertson, Collins and Holton represent three of the eight players who’ve been drafted in the top 10 rounds under 16-year coach Ed Servais.
All three will presumably elect to forgo their final year of college eligibility and sign professional contracts.
The assigned signing bonus slot value for Robertson at the 117th pick is $492,700, according to MLB.com. Collins’ predetermined bonus figure is $150,500. Holton’s number is $147,000.
The draft continues with the final 30 rounds Wednesday.
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