Owen White was always an all-around athlete and played baseball, basketball and football growing up in North Carolina.
White, however, decided baseball was his future so he put down his football helmet before his senior season at Jesse C. Carson High School in suburban Charlotte, N.C., in order to put on weight for his final prep baseball season.
It paid off.
White was one of the Texas Rangers' top five draft picks — all high school seniors — introduced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at Globe Life Park. The right-handed pitcher was the 55th overall pick in the second round and signed for $1.5 million, almost $250,000 above the slotted value.
"It was very tough, but I knew it was a big choice I had to make if I really wanted to make it to the big leagues one day," said White, who still received interest from several Division I football programs. "I think I made the right choice in the long run."
Top pick Cole Winn and picks three through five (shortstop Jonathan Ornelas, right-hander Mason Englert and shortstop Jayce Easley) were also introduced by Rangers director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg.
The group flew to Arizona to begin their professional careers Tuesday evening.
"Any sport I was playing was my favorite," said White, who played quarterback and small forward. "I loved being on any field or court. I loved any sport I was playing. But I felt I had a talent for baseball and God was pulling my heart to go play. Definitely, this is the best outcome."
Englert, a star pitcher for Forney High School, received a signing bonus of $1 million, more than $500,000 above the slotted value for the 119th overall pick. He turned down a Texas A&M commitment to play for his hometown team. His favorite Rangers player growing up was Hank Blalock.
"I've always come to the ballpark and watched since I was little kid as far back as I can remember," Englert said. "so it made it that much more special and that much better of an opportunity. It's a special thing to wear Texas across my chest because that's the team I've always looked up to."
Easley, signed for $500,000, $150,000 above the slot value for pick No. 149. His dad is 17-year MLB veteran Damion Easley. The infielder was an All-Star in 1998 with the Tigers.
Rangers 2018 signing bonuses
RHP Cole Winn, $3.15 M
RHP Owen White, $1.5 M
SS Jonathan Ornelas, $622,800
RHP Mason Englert, $1 M
SS Jayce Easley, $500,000