Entertainment

Former Fresno State athlete had his career cut short. Then, he became super popular

Paul George and what could’ve been at Fresno State

Indiana Pacers star Paul George reminisces about what could have been had he stuck around at least one more year at his alma mater of Fresno State. George played two seasons with the Bulldogs before he turned pro, selected No. 10 overall by the Pa
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Indiana Pacers star Paul George reminisces about what could have been had he stuck around at least one more year at his alma mater of Fresno State. George played two seasons with the Bulldogs before he turned pro, selected No. 10 overall by the Pa

Who said Derek Carr, Paul George and Aaron Judge are the only former Fresno State athletes who’ve become familiar names?

Another ex-Bulldog is right on their heels in popularity.

And in some ways, former Fresno State baseball player Brett Young has surpassed the famed Bulldogs trio combined.

Young, after all, is a famous country singer who has had his music streamed more than 1 billion times.

His latest song “Mercy” reached as high as No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs list last month, and he has a new album coming out.

“Wow!” Young tweeted on Wednesday. “Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. Can’t wait to see what the next project holds.”

Young, an ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year and a CMA Nominee New Artist of the Year, currently is on tour with country music headliner Thomas Rhett.

Young will join Rhett for four performances in California, including Oct. 27 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

Rhett’s tour, by the way, initially was promoted as including a stop in Fresno. Third-party vendors were selling tickets in anticipation of an Oct. 25 show at the Save Mart Center.

But Save Mart Center officials said the concert never was scheduled at the Fresno State venue.

Thus, Young misses an opportunity to shine on campus again, like he briefly did while with the Bulldogs baseball team.

brett young at fresno state.jpg
Brett Young suffered a career-ending injury during his one season at Fresno State back in 2003. But it sent him on a path from baseball to music, and he’s since become a popular country musician. Courtesy Fresno State media guide

A junior college transfer, Young played one season at Fresno State.

That was 2003, during coach Mike Batesole’s first season, alongside notable teammates and eventual Major Leaguers Matt Garza and Casey McGehee.

Young’s Bulldog career, however, lasted just one game – a scoreless inning with two strikeouts that was part of a season-opening, 1-0 win at UC Irvine.

Young suffered a career-ending injury shortly after and never returned to the diamond.

But as one dream came to an end, another soon was realized as Young turned his attention to music.

Young’s popularity continues to grow with roughly 1 million followers combined on social media.

He also has five videos on Youtube that have generated at least 25 million views each, including his video to “In Case You Didn’t Know,” which has nearly 200 million views.

Bryant-Jon Anteola: 559-441-6362, @Banteola_TheBee

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