The Fayette native will forgo his senior year of football eligibility to concentrate on baseball, where he has two remaining years of eligibility. Spencer Pennington turned down lucrative offers to play professional baseball coming out of high school in order to be a two-sport athlete at Alabama.
Pennington was granted a medical redshirt year in baseball after a shoulder injury suffered in Alabama’s 2003 football game against Georgia forced him to miss the 2004 baseball season.
Pennington told reporters in December that he intended to play baseball for Alabama this season, but he did not go into detail about how that decision would affect his football career.
“I am playing baseball - I am playing baseball,” Pennington said on December 18. When asked to go into further detail he declined. “I’m not even going to worry about that right now. We’re focusing on Minnesota, focusing on this football team right now, and we’ll worry about baseball when that time gets here.”
Reached at her home Wednesday night, Pennington’s mother Donna discussed the process of her son’s decision.
“After the bowl game Spencer talked to us about the possibility of making this decision and asked us to pray about it with him and asked us to think about it for a while,” Donna Pennington said. “He’s thinking that since Brodie (Croyle) will be healthy and Marc (Guillon) will be healthy, and with the new guys coming in, that if he left he would be leaving the position in good shape.”
“He wanted to talk with Coach Shula and Coach Rader. He went yesterday and talked with Coach Rader,” she said. “He was most gracious to Spencer and thanked him for stepping into a bad situation. (Rader) said that if Spencer felt like he needed to try his hand at baseball he had his blessing.”
Donna Pennington said her son’s shoulder injury in 2003, and concussions she said he suffered in 2004 led to the decision to focus on baseball.
“Spencer felt like while he was healthy and had a choice that now was the time to try it,” she said. “He also talked to Coach Wells and Coach Wells was very supportive. There are no hard feelings anywhere between anyone.”
Pennington stepped into the limelight after Croyle and Guillon succombed to injury, starting Alabama's final seven games.